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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga reportedly joining Houston, Alabama, others in loaded 2025 Players Era Festival field

Tourists snap photos of the Fountains of Bellagio on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. The complex water show is synched to popular music, free to view and performs at scheduled intervals throughout the day and evening.  (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga will be busy at the Battle 4 Atlantis when the inaugural Players Era Festival tips off in Las Vegas this November, but Mark Few’s program is reportedly one of eight more that will join a loaded 2025 field according to multiple reports Wednesday morning.

The new in-season tournament held over Thanksgiving week is expected to distribute at least $1 million to participating teams in name, image, likeness opportunities outside out of competition.

Along with the eight teams expected to play in this year’s field – Houston, Alabama, Rutgers, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Texas A&M, Oregon and Creighton – the Zags will reportedly join an expanded 2025 field, along with Michigan, Syracuse, St. John’s and Saint Joe’s.

The tournament is also targeting Duke, Kansas and Virginia as potential options to fill out the 16-team bracket in 2025.

First-round matchups for the inaugural Players Era Festival this November were leaked this morning, pitting Houston against Alabama, Rutgers against Notre Dame, San Diego State against Texas A&M and Oregon against Creighton.

Gonzaga’s nonconference and postseason schedules take the Bulldogs to Las Vegas on a regular basis. Along with the annual West Coast Conference Tournament, held at Orleans Arena, the Zags have made recent trips to Vegas for nonconference games against the likes of Duke, UCLA and USC, and played Sweet 16/Elite Eight games against both UCLA and UConn at T-Mobile Arena during the second weekend of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

It’s not clear whether the Players Era Festival will become a mainstay on Gonzaga’s nonconference schedule. The Bulldogs have made regular appearances at the Maui Invitational since 2002 and will be playing in their third Battle 4 Atlantis this November. Gonzaga has also competed twice in the Portland-based Phil Knight Invitational.