ROSEMONT, Ill. (May 6, 2014) — With the addition of Rutgers and Maryland to the conference for the upcoming fall sports season, the Big Ten has been clear about trying to grow its brand toward the eastern seaboard. Today, they made another big move in that direction.
The Big Ten Conference announced that its men’s basketball tournament will be held at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. in 2017. The tournament has only been played in Chicago and Indianapolis in its 17-year history.
“We’re thrilled to announce plans to host the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament in Washington, D.C.,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “We have a great amount of respect for basketball in this region of the country and are pleased that we were able to place this tournament at the Verizon Center at this first possible opportunity in March 2017.”
The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held at the United Center in Chicago next year and will return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in 2016. Each of the last two tournaments have been sold out, including a conference record of more than 124,000 fans at the United Center in 2013 and over 111,000 fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse earlier this year, the largest attendance in Indianapolis.
Michigan State defeated Michigan in the tournament’s championship game this season. The winner of the tournament earns the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The Big Ten has not announced its plans for the men’s basketball tournament beyond 2017.