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Hogs in the Rock

Business leaders from Little Rock and North Little Rock held a news conference this afternoon at the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum to promote ticket sales for next week’s Arkansas-Baylor basketball game.

That’s a good thing.

Consider how the athletic programs at Alabama and Auburn have abandoned Birmingham.

Consider how the athletic programs at Ole Miss and Mississippi State have abandoned Jackson.

The people of central Arkansas simply cannot take for granted that the Razorbacks will always play some games here. As we’ve stated on this blog before, it’s in the best interest of the athletic department on the Fayetteville campus to have a central Arkansas presence. But it’s also in the best interest of folks in this part of the state to show their support when the opportunities present themselves.

Next week’s basketball game is a prime opportunity to make a point. With horrible crowds thus far for basketball games in Fayetteville, a good crowd at Verizon Arena will send a strong message that a holiday game in central Arkansas is a smart move. In fact, it might send a message that two basketball games are even better than one.

There was a time when the Razorbacks played two basketball games in Little Rock and one in Pine Bluff.

The central Arkansas business leaders are promoting Razorback basketball tickets as a Christmas gift idea. The game against Baylor will begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30, and be telecast on ESPN2.

Plans are being made for family-oriented activities prior to the game. The 8 p.m. start will allow fans time to have dinner in either downtown North Little Rock or downtown Little Rock. Meanwhile, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum in Verizon Arena will stay open until 7 p.m. on the day of the game and offer half-price admission to those with game tickets.

Tickets may be purchased at the Verizon Arena box office or through Ticketmaster at or (800) 745-3000. Tickets are $25 each.

In a nice twist, the chambers of commerce in Little Rock and North Little Rock are purchasing tickets that will be made available to those stationed at the Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville. Those wishing to contribute to this effort can call one of the chamber offices.

For families who are together for the holidays, it’s a nice excuse for a night out. The tickets will make Christmas stocking stuffers. Business owners and managers might also purchase tickets as last-minute Christmas gifts for valued employees.

On Tuesday, Dec. 29, Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey will speak to the Downtown Tip-Off Club luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock. Those desiring ticket information for that event may contact the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce at 372-5959.

The athletic department’s commitment to central Arkansas now includes two football games each year at War Memorial Stadium, a basketball game at Verizon Arena and now a baseball game at Dickey-Stephens Park. The Razorback baseball team will play Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. on May 11 at Dickey-Stephens. Tickets may now be purchased by going to Ticket prices are $15 for a box seat and $12 for a reserve seat.

Meanwhile, are you looking for some small, last-minute Christmas gifts?

Consider tickets to next week’s Arkansas-Baylor basketball game. We don’t want the folks watching ESPN2 to see a bunch of empty seats.

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