Big Ten basketball tourney may add eastern stop
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MADISON--During the 2014 Big Ten men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis, a league official told the Journal Sentinel the event could be moving east—perhaps to Washington, D.C., New York or New Jersey—as early as 2017.
That move is the verge of being finalized.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany is scheduled to appear at a news conference at noon Tuesday in the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
The 20,000-seat facility is home to the Washington Wizards of the NBA and Georgetown of the Big East.
The Big Ten men’s tournament is scheduled to be held at the United Center in Chicago in 2015 and then return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in 2016.
According to a league official, moving the tournament to the East Coast would not be permanent. Rather, it would be an expansion of the current rotation system between Chicago and Indianapolis.
Indianapolis has hosted the event nine times and Chicago has hosted it eight times.
Washington, D.C., appears to be the best available option for the Big Ten.
The Atlantic Coast Conference in March agreed to hold its 2017 and ’18 men’s basketball tournaments at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Atlantic 10 has held its men’s tournament in the Barclays Center for each of the last two seasons. The Atlantic 10 tournament is scheduled to play there in 2015 and ‘16, move to another venue in ’17 and then return to the Barclays Center in 2019, ’20 and ’21.
The Big East is under contract to hold its men’s basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan through 2026.
Rutgers and Maryland are set to begin competing in the Big Ten in the fall, the league recently added an office in New York and Delany has stressed repeatedly he wants to expand the league’s presence in the east.
Delany and Big East officials announced Monday the creation of the Gavitt Tipoff Games. The series will feature eight games each year, start in the 2015-’16 season and run for eight years.
The games will be played on campus sites each season, four at Big Ten schools and four at Big East Schools.
“You can beam a TV signal into the east,” Delany told reporters Monday in New York, “but you need to be here, too. You need boots on the ground.”
Adding Washington, D.C., as a site for the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament appears to be another part of that plan.