U-Sports Group brings college basketball ‘Battleground’ to Dickies Arena

(Photo courtesy U-Sports Group)

Dickies Arena keeps rolling out big events and on Dec. 3 the world-class venue will aim the spotlight at big-time college basketball when it hosts “The Battleground 2k22.”

The Battleground is a prestigious hoops doubleheader pitting the Texas A&M Aggies against the Boise State Broncos and the Houston Cougars against the St. Mary’s Gaels. Tentative starting time for the opener is 6 p.m. with the Houston-St. Mary’s tipoff following at approximately 8:30.

The event is presented by the U-Sports Group.

“Because we’re a Texas-based sports market managing company, it’s important to have teams from the Lone Star State participating,” said U-Sports President Rhossi Carron. “It also gives teams outside of this region a chance to come here, market themselves and play in front of any fans they might have here.”

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Last season, Texas A&M (27-13) reached the championship game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament and advanced to the finals of the National Invitation Tournament. Boise State (27-8) won both the regular season and postseason tournament championship in the Mountain West Conference before losing to Memphis in the NCAA Tournament.

Houston (32-6) won both the regular season and tournament titles in the American Conference last season and reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars made it all the way to the Final Four in 2020.

St. Mary’s (26-8), from Moraga, California, finished second in the West Coast Conference 2021-22 regular season standings and postseason tournament behind perennial power Gonzaga. The Gaels reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, besting Indiana in the opening round.

The backdrop for The Battleground 2k22 is a community campaign called the a(3) Initiative. The goal is to connect sports and service, encouraging student-athletes to use their talent, notoriety and influence to help improve the lives of less-fortunate children.

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“Our motto is to combine competition and community,” Carron said. “Athletes need to understand the value of using their influence to help others.”

Carron said players on each of the four teams will be doing community service with area youth the day before the games. Activities could include basketball clinics, question-and-answer sessions and more.

Carron asked that any children’s organizations interested in participating in the a(3) Initiative reach out to info@usportsgroup.com.

Last season, U-Sports Group presented a game between Houston and Oklahoma State at Dickies in mid-December. Not only was the game a success, Carron said, but he fell in love with the facility.

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“There are a lot of great venues in Texas, and we use a lot, even outside of Texas, but Dickies is one of my favorite arenas, and it’s a great setting for college basketball,” he said. “It’s state-of-the art and not too big or too small, the perfect size …. it’s in a great city, and in a great location in that city.”

Dickies also hosted two opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament this past season. The field for the local action included the two teams that met in the championship game, champion Kansas and runner-up North Carolina.

“The NCAA first and second rounds were a huge success on several fronts, but the impression Dickies Arena and the city as a whole had on visitors who had never been to Fort Worth before was a game changer for us,” said Jason Sands, executive director of the Fort Worth Sports Commission. “With each high profile event we are hosting at Dickies, we are introducing this great city of ours to thousands of visitors that never knew about Fort Worth before.

“Our goal is to deliver a great experience for those visitors so they go and tell their friends and they ultimately want to come back. We’ve been able to leverage this unprecedented momentum around sports into great exposure and a substantial economic impact for Fort Worth.”

Carron said TCU participated in Battleground 2K21 at Houston’s Toyota Center last season, defeating Texas A&M. The Horned Frogs won 68-64.

Other upcoming events at Dickies Arena include;

  • Cirque du Soleil, Sept. 22-25.
  • Keith Urban – The Speed of Now World Tour 2022, Oct. 1.
  • Mary Blige, Oct. 2.
  • Pitbull, Oct. 5.
  • Enhypen, Oct. 6.
  • Ariat Texas Rattlers PBR, Oct. 7-9.
  • Christopher Cross, Oct. 7.
  • Reba McEntire, Oct. 14.
  • Whiskey Myers Tornillo North American Tour 2022, Oct. 15.
  • 97.1 The Eagle Freakers Ball, Oct. 16.
  • The Judds, the Final Tour, Oct. 22.
  • Post Malone, Oct. 26.
  • Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show, Ot. 27.
  • WTA Finals Fort Worth, Oct. 31-Nov. 7.
  • Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, Nov. 12-13.
  • ATEEZ – The Fellowship Break the Wall Tour, Nov. 16.
  • George Strait, Nov. 18-19.
  • Pentatonix: A Christmas Spectacular, Nov. 22.
  • Eagles: Hotel California 2022 Tour, Nov. 25.
  • Cirque Musical: Holiday Wonderland, Dec. 23.
  • Brian Regan, Dec. 31.