The EA Sports Maui Invitational is the premiere NCAA College Basketball preseason tournament in the nation. Maui Invitational participants have taken more than 75% of the spots in NCAA Final Fours during March Madness. The field consists of eight teams, host Chaminade University, and seven invited teams. The 2010 field includes Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, and Witchita State and the 2011 field is comprised of Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA. If you are planning to attend the tournament, be sure to follow these top 5 tips for attending the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
5) Lock in your airfare in advance
The major cost of a trip to the EA Sports Maui Invitational will be airfare. November airfare from the West Coast ranges from $300-$500 while a round-trip from the East Coast will cost you $600-$800. While booking early is advised for any trip, locking in your airfare in advance will save you hundreds of dollars when flying into the Kahului Airport (OGG). This would be an ideal time to use frequent flier miles as most airlines charge significantly less miles for a trip to Hawaii than for an international flight despite the time and distance between roughly equivalent.
4) Rent a car
There is no public transportation on the island of Maui. If you are planning on attending the EA Sports Maui Invitational, you absolutely must rent a car. Because Maui is a land-locked, popular tourist destination, rental car agencies can literally run out of cars to rent. Make sure you take the time to make a rental car reservation before your trip to the Maui Invitational. If, for some reason, you end up on Maui without a rental car, you do have another (limited) option. There are small business operations that rent scooters or Segways to tourists. If your only alternative is walking, consider one of these as a daily rental.
3) Understand the tournament format
The EA Sports Maui Invitational is a tournament format. This means only the start time of the first round game is guaranteed. While it may be fun to assume your team will win every game, an early loss may relegate your basketball team to an early afternoon or morning start. If you intend on catching every game your team plays on Maui, be aware of the possible start times for every game.
2) Leave time to explore Maui
If you are flying thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean, you want to make sure you leave time to explore the rest of the island. The Lahaina Civic Center is one of the best venues to watch college basketball, but the rest of Maui is just as memorable. Take a look at my top five tourist activities on Maui for a brief overview.
1) Secure your tickets early
The Lahaina Civic Center is a very small venue compared to the home gyms of the participating teams. This does create an intimate setting (think of a packed high school game), but it can make tickets hard to get. The best option is to buy your tickets directly from the EA Sports Maui Invitational. If you sign-up for the email list, you will have an opportunity to buy a ticket package at face value.
The EA Sports Maui Invitational is a must-attend for any college basketball fan. Be sure to remember these top 5 tips when you plan your unforgettable vacation to the Lahaina Civic Center.