Big Ten Tournament heading to Washington D.C. in 2017

Dylan Burkhardt

2010BigTenTournamentLogo[1]As was first reported by Justin Albers, and confirmed by Sports Illustrated, the Big Ten Tournament will be played in Washington D.C. in 2017. Earlier today the Big Ten announced a season opening event against Big East schools in a continued effort to expand to the East coast after adding Maryland and Rutgers to the conference. Here’s the Sports Illustrated report:

The Big Ten will hold its 2017 men’s basketball tournament at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C., the league will announce Tuesday, marking the first time the event, which began in 1998, will be played outside of Indianapolis or Chicago.

The announcement fits with the league’s larger initiative to plant roots on the East Coast, what with Rutgers’ and Maryland’s impending arrival on July 1.

“We don’t just want to visit here, we want to live here,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said of the Northeast. “This was our first opportunity to do that. We think it’s a wonderful opportunity for not just Maryland, but for expatriate Big Ten fans living on the East Coast to see great basketball in March.”

The 2015 Big Ten tournament will be played at Chicago’s United Center and the 2016 event at Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse, at which point those venues will have hosted a combined 19 tourneys. No sites have been set beyond 2017. However, Delany indicated the event will start moving around more frequently much like the ACC’s, which is most commonly played in Greensboro, N.C., but will visit the Verizon Center in 2016 and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2017 and ’18.

“My expectation is you’ll see it moving among and between venues in the Midwest and Northeast,” he said. “You’ve got to figure out a pattern. I expect that over the next 10 years you’re going to see us in both regions of the country.”

The Big Ten previously announced the opening of an office in New York City and a football partnership with the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. The Verizon Center news follows Monday’s announcement of the new Dave Gavitt Tipoff Games, a season-opening basketball challenge between the Big Ten and Big East beginning in 2015-16.

  • cheechmo

    It would be really nice if they stopped with the whole brand synergy, footprint-building, money-printing BS and just rotated it between the B1G campuses. You might actually have a great fan atmosphere if that happened. You may also be frozen in hell.

  • jakelam2116

    As a DC resident, I’m selfishly very excited.

    • DingoBlue


  • AADave

    Moving the Big Ten Tourrnament thousands of miles away from the geographical center of the conference and most of its fans? Yeah, that’s just brilliant.

    • Mattski

      There’s no doubt that the center of gravity for the conference is going to shift a little–and if they’re in for a penny they should arguably get in for a pound. Probably more chance that Rutgers and MD succeed earlier in hoop, anyway. It’s the ridiculous logo that’s got to go, IMO–that thing was turned out in a short course on marketing by some eight grade class. . .

  • John T. MacLean

    I agree with AADave — a really dumb idea!

  • Wayman Britt

    I am okay with this venue. It’s clear the Big Ten is trying to move into the East. I think the bigger the audience, the more potential revenue which cannot be bad for the whole conference. Let’s face it, we in the Midwest don’t have the resources we used to in the past with the population and economy shift.

  • a2sk

    Stupid. They are just making it that much harder for students to attend the tournament.

  • UMHoopsFan

    If Rutgers, PSU, and MD are in the conference, the tourney might as well be accessible for them once every three or four years. Columbus is just about as close to DC as it is to Chicago, and there are plenty of B1G alumni in DC. Annoyance at this is just annoyance at conference expansion, which may be legitimate, but we’ve crossed the rubicon. Conference tourneys are already kinda goofy and removed from campus games anyway.

  • georgiablue

    Does this mean we’ll be seeing the tournament in Minneapolis? Detroit? Cleveland?

  • Tony DeMaria

    I don’t mind them doing it for a year but it sounds like its going to happening quite often. Indy is a fantastic place for a college basketball tournament. I think it’s central location and awesome enivornment make it the best conference tournament in the country. And I live in Chicago, so obviously I love when its here too.

  • Here’s the full press release:

    Rosemont, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference announced today that the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will make its first appearance on the East Coast when the 2017 event is held at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The 2017 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will mark the conference’s 20th annual event and will feature all 14 conference institutions in action from Wednesday, March 8, through Sunday, March 12, with the winner earning the Big Ten’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

    “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.”

    “We’re very excited the Big Ten Conference has selected our nation’s capital as the site for the 2017 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament,” said University of Maryland Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson. “This is yet another example of the Big Ten’s commitment to our region and provides fans of Maryland and all conference teams on the East Coast easier access to enjoy this outstanding event.”

    “We are looking forward to and are honored to host the Big Ten Tournament here in Washington, D.C. for the very first time,” said senior vice president and general manager of Verizon Center, David Touhey. “The excitement that surrounds this conference event is unparalleled and with Maryland becoming a part of the fold officially next season, the tournament is sure to have some added local flair here in the nation’s capital.”

    The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament has been held in either Chicago or Indianapolis through the first 17 years of its existence, and returns to Chicago’s United Center for the ninth time in 2015. Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse will host the tournament for the 10th time 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. More than 1.6 million fans have enjoyed the tournament since the inaugural event in 1998.

    Six different programs have won the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament – Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin – while 10 different schools have advanced to the championship game. History has indicated that any team, regardless of seed, can advance to the title game, as the final matchup has featured teams seeded as high as first, second and third and as low as eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th.

    Verizon Center is a 20,000-seat multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue, owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), in downtown Washington, D.C. The arena is home to three professional sports teams, also owned by MSE, the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals and WNBA’s Washington Mystics. Hosting an average of 220 events per year, inclusive of games, concerts, family shows and world-class sporting events, Verizon Center sits at the heart of an $8.1 billion redevelopment of downtown that began 16 years ago when the arena opened.

    The Big Ten has made a series of announcements highlighting the conference’s increased presence on the East Coast, beginning with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers as future conference members in November 2012. Last June, the Big Ten announced the acceptance of Johns Hopkins University as the conference’s first sport affiliate member for men’s lacrosse and also announced an agreement to take part in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, sending conference football teams to play at Yankee Stadium on an annual basis. In April, the Big Ten announced that it would open a second office in New York City while securing access to satellite office space in Washington, D.C. And yesterday in Madison Square Garden, the conference unveiled plans to take part in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an annual early-season men’s basketball series with the Big East named in honor of Dave Gavitt, founder of the Big East and basketball visionary.

    Maryland and Rutgers are set to officially join the Big Ten on July 1, 2014, giving the conference more than 520,000 total students and 5.7 million living alumni. The broad-based athletic programs of the 14 institutions will feature almost 9,500 student-athletes on 350 teams in 43 different sports. With the debut of men’s and women’s lacrosse during the 2014-15 academic year, the Big Ten will sponsor 28 official sports. Maryland and Rutgers are already members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, an academic consortium of Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago that is a model for effective and voluntary collaboration among top research universities. In 2012, Big Ten institutions produced over $9.5 billion in research expenditures.

  • Fred Z in Ann Arbor

    All your East Coast bases are belong to us

  • Bigrange

    I live in Indianapolis and the city always does a good job hosting the tournament. Geographically, it makes no sense to have the fan bases travel that far, but that’s not what this is all about. In future years, I’d like to see it stay more in the midwest. There are plenty of cities to choose from.