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NIL-based basketball tournament reportedly headed to Las Vegas

Talk about a different way to disperse name, image and likeness funds.

A new college basketball tournament in Las Vegas during Thanksgiving week is close to being finalized.

It would include eight teams and each participant would receive $1 million towards its NIL collective, according to multiple reports. The champion could receive as much as an extra $1 million.

CBS Sports reported the the event, which would be called the Players Era Festival, would be played at any or all of three MGM venues: T-Mobile Arena, the MGM Grand Garden Arena or Michelob Ultra Arena.

An MGM spokesperson told the Review-Journal that nothing has been confirmed on its side of things.

Alabama, Creighton, Houston, Notre Dame, Oregon, Rutgers, San Diego State and Texas A&M are reportedly committed to the event.

“It certainly feels like it’s all going in the right direction and that all parties have made the combined decision to make it work,” said Jeff Smith, founder of San Diego State’s collective, to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It looks like it’s moving forward. We’re told it’s in the final stages.”

An official announcement, including what sort of format the tournament would feature, could come later this month. Games would be played Nov. 26, 27 and 29. The tournament would be off on Thanksgiving.

CBS reported the event is being financially backed by Redbird International Media Investments, which has ties to the United Arab Emirates.

There have already been discussions about expanding the field to 16 teams in 2025.

Contact Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com. Follow @edgraney on X.

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