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San Diego Aircraft Carrier To Become Basketball Arena

Aired 11/4/11 on KPBS News.

Two of the nation's top college basketball teams will play a nationally televised game on the USS Carl Vinson on Veterans Day.

— Two of the nation's top college basketball teams will play a nationally televised game on an outdoor basketball court on the USS Carl Vinson on Veterans Day.

President Barack Obama will be on hand for the game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Michigan State Spartans. It is the first time a college basketball game has ever been played on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Dave Nagle, Senior Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy, points to the stands being built on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson.
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Above: Dave Nagle, Senior Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy, points to the stands being built on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson.

Crews are already lifting stands onto the carrier flight deck and they are building an arena that will seat 7,000 people. Tickets are impossible to buy: Eight-hundred sailors on the USS Carl Vinson will be picked in a lottery, and the rest of the tickets will be passed out to active duty military personnel.

The carrier will be docked just off North Island in San Diego Bay when the teams take to the court on Veterans Day in front of a national television audience.

The stands and court will be partially shielded by a 35 foot tall plastic wall. A second basketball court will be built in the hanger deck in case there's inclement weather.

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