HONOLULU(KHON2) — Exciting news for fans of UH athletics. The Big West Volleyball Championships will be held in Hawaii through 2026 according to the Big West Commissioner. Officials said it could bring a boost to the local economy.

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The Big West Men’s Volleyball Championships are coming back to the islands and fans like Dara Young couldn’t be more excited.

“It is great news to a lot of us who do fly to the mainland to watch our team play,” Young explained. “It means a lot to us. We will follow them anywhere.”

And she’s not alone.

UH sports fan Ben Ayson can’t even count how many times he’s flown to the mainland to watch games.

“There’s been a lot,” Ayson said.

KHON: “So you spent thousands and thousands of dollars?”

“Oh, yes. Yes, undoubtedly. I spent quite a bit.”

The Hawaii Tourism Authority, who’s partnering with the Big West conference to bring the championships to Hawaii, is hoping all those dollars –and then some — will benefit the economy.

“We anticipate a substantial economic boost from this all-encompassing partnership over the next three years,” said HTA spokesperson Ilihia Gianson in a statement.

A spokesperson from the City & County of Honolulu said:

“Today’s announcement is not just a testament to the strength of the men’s and women’s volleyball programs at UH, but it’s a thrilling opportunity for Oʻahu to shine on the national stage … We are confident these championship events will have a significant positive impact on our local economy.”

“This relationship positive for everyone for student athlete to play in sold out arena,” said UH men’s volleyball coach Charlie Wade during the press conference. “To showcase all the efforts in competing for championships which we’ve had. It’s great opportunity.”

“The fans will come out,” Ayson added. “And they’ll come out in the thousands and thousands and pack the parking lot and sell a lot of tickets. And maybe you’ll get a crowd in Long Beach or Irvine. But the environment in the Stan Sheriff center is is you can’t compare it to anything else.”

When you look at attendance for the Big West Conference Championship games since 2018, with the exception of pandemic in 2021, attendance in Honolulu is much higher than the games in California.

Year   Attendance     Champion       Location
2023   4,064           Hawaii   Bren Events Center, Irvine, CA
2022 6,636 Hawaii SimpliFi Arena, Honolulu
2021 — UC Santa Barbara SimpliFi Arena, Honolulu
2019 10,300 Hawaii Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu
2018 2,325 Long Beach State Walter Pyramid, Long Beach, CA

“We have the best fans in the country for volleyball bar-none at UH,” said University of Hawaii President David Lassner, “And when we see this entire arena filled with people both our own local fans and people who travel here to appreciate good volleyball who even applaud great plays by other teams, even when we’re angry about them, you just know there’s no place better.”

“The volleyball environment in the Stan Sheriff center is electric,” said Ayson. “And it’s like a slam dunk play on every single play.”

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Tickets for The Hawaiian Islands presents the 2024 Outrigger Big West Men’s Volleyball Championship will go on sale in January.