At Emerald Downs, August is always synonymous with the Longacres Mile.
This year, though, Emerald Downs is adding basketball into the mix. The inaugural EmD3-On-3 will be held the week prior to The Mile, on Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11, with games played on 30 half-courts in the north parking lot.
The two-day extravaganza is the brainchild of Bob Fraser, Emerald Downs Vice-President of Operations, who came away impressed last summer while attending the enormously successful Spokane Hoopfest. The largest event of its kind in the world, Hoopfest drew over 27,000 players to Spokane last June including Fraser and his two sons.
“I was amazed at the size of the event and the involvement of the Spokane community in making it happen,” said Fraser, a youth basketball coach. “I watched volunteers set up the courts and the operational aspects involved with making the event happen and felt we had the resources here at Emerald Downs and in Auburn to make it happen. I asked myself why don't we have an event like this in Western Washington.”
Taking the bull by the horns, Fraser made a feasibility study and determined the Emerald Downs facility and the Auburn Valley region as excellent prospects for an event west of the Cascades.
“To my knowledge there was no other event in Western Washington and the opportunity was ripe to jump in,” Fraser said. “I spoke with Ron Crockett, and he thought it was a good idea so I proceeded with doing the groundwork, setting up committees and making contacts in the community.”
Fraser said the community response—everything from Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis to youth coaches and local businesses—has been outstanding. In fact, Fraser already has commitments for three premier sponsorships and has sold sponsorships on 28 of 30 courts. An event website—emd3on3.com—launched February 7.
“The word is getting out,” Fraser said. “Many or our court sponsors are assisting us by contacting other businesses in the area and encouraging them to contribute to the event.
“The Auburn community is really passionate about sports, and events like the 3-On-3 tourney helps bring the community even closer. The mayor and his staff have been monitoring our progress and are excited about the potential economic impact of the event.”
As for players, the cost is only $120 per team, with each team guaranteed at least three games.