ESPN’s annual tip-off marathon won’t happen this season

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — There will be no 24-hour basketball marathon on ESPN to mark the start of the college season this year.

The broadcasting giant says the annual event, which ran for nine seasons, presented programming challenges and won’t be part of this year’s schedule.

The event featured more than a dozen games spread out over 24 consecutive hours.

Spokesman Josh Krulewitz says the company may explore a return of the marathon concept at some point in the future.

He notes that more than 3,500 college basketball games will air on ESPN’s platforms during the 2017-18 season.

ESPN recently announced it will air a new early-season tournament, the Phil Knight Invitational, which will feature 16 teams playing across two separate brackets from Nov. 23-26.

One bracket features Butler, Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Portland State, Stanford and Texas. The other includes Arkansas, DePaul, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Portland and UConn.

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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP—Top25

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