Washington and Texas will square off in the first ever American regular season game, professional or collegiate, played in China, the Pac-12 conference announced Saturday. The game will be played on Nov. 13, 2015 (Nov. 13 in the U.S.) and will be televised live on ESPN.
According to a press release from the conference, the game in China is part of the Pac-12’s effort to showcase itself on a global level. The Pac-12’s “Globalization Initiative” launched in 2011 and has featured trips to China for exhibitions and clinics by several Pac-12 basketball teams and an all-star women’s volleyball team.
“The Pac-12 and our universities are proud to be pioneers in China” said commissioner Larry Scott. “The event is a great step forward for our initiative designed to use sport and cultural exchange to support the international strategies that many of our universities have embarked on to extend their reach into China and promote good will between our two countries.”
The conference hopes the event will become “an annual component” of the Pac-12 season, where a Pac-12 team plays a “prominent non-conference opponent.”
“We are excited to represent the Pac-12 as it launches this innovative addition to the basketball season,” Washington athletic director Scott Woodward said. “The event offers a unique bonding experience for the student-athletes early in the season and an excellent forum to showcase the university and connect with Washington alumni in China.”
Newly-appointed Texas athletic director Steve Patterson’s previous role in the Pac-12 as Arizona State’s AD made the Longhorns a logical choice to face the Huskies. Patterson previously brought the ASU basketball team to China in 2013 as a part of the same conference initiative.
“We are excited to be opening the 2015-2016 season against the Washington Huskies in China,” Patterson said. “This will be a great educational experience for our student-athletes and another opportunity to strengthen the university’s brand in the world’s most populous country.”
In addition to the Washington-Texas game, Scott also announced that a Pac-12 All-Star team coached by Oregon State’s Craig Robinson and his staff will be sent to China in August 2014 to play “two to three exhibitions against top Chinese professional teams and one game against a leading Chinese university team.”
The team will feature a roster of 12-13 players and Robinson will announce the roster this spring.
“This team is going to have representatives from all 12 of our institutions,” Scott said. "They'll have a chance to visit three cities in what is not only a sporting competition, but also a cultural exchange between our two countries.”