Washington D.C.’s Verizon Center to host 2017 Big Ten tournament

  • 05/05/2014 6:53 pm in

Early Monday evening, the Big Ten issued a press release that it would have an announcement on Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET at Washington D.C.’s Verizon Center.

It hasn’t taken long for the details of that announcement to leak as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany confirmed to SI.com’s Steward Mandel that the 2017 Big Ten tournament will be played in the nation’s capital. The news was first reported by Justin Albers.

The tournament will be played in Chicago in 2015 and Indianapolis in 2016 and then move to D.C. for 2017. No dates beyond 2017 have been announced.

According to Mandel’s report, the event will start “moving around more frequently, much like the ACC’s.”

“My expectation is you’ll see it moving among and between venues in the Midwest and Northeast,” Delany told Mandel. “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 tournament, which started in 1998, has never been played outside of Chicago or Indianapolis.

Here’s the full release from the Big Ten:

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.

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  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    B1G turning ratings focus to the east..

  • Ole Man

    Actually, the ACC tourney moves very little.

  • Eric SIr

    Looks like attendance for 2017 BIG 10 tourney will be down because many of the traditional big 10 fans will not travel that far and I doubt the east coast picks up the slack!

  • For the Glory

    While D.C. Offers a great venue and a large contingent of hoosier alumni, I think this is a poor move. The big ten is a Midwest conference. Period. The 3 “east coast” schools are for tv money only. I hope the conference tourney is a failure out east. Indianapolis is the perfect city for this conference to showcase itself.

  • Snookafly

    No it doesn’t, unless you count moving around within the same state.

  • Snookafly

    It’s all about the money, but I just don’t see it panning out the way they’re hoping.

  • airnel48

    My dad and I go to the tourney every year. We were hoping it would move to Indianapolis permanently. This is going to put a kink in things. Really starting to hate this expansion.

  • Court Storming Hoosier

    I will be anxious to see how the attendance numbers will be; I think they may be genuinely awful. Rutgers and Penn State fans aren’t going to spend money to see their team lose in the first round, so that leaves Maryland fans + Big Ten alumni who live in DC. Also, this is going to kill any chance of students going unless they attend one of the three east coast schools. At least Chicago and Indy were in reasonable driving distance from most Big Ten campuses. Lastly, Indy is far more reasonably priced hotel wise and cost wise than DC. This could turn into a disaster financially in 2017.

  • Hardwood83

    I’m with you. I ‘understand’ the rationale behind the expansions, but I don’t like it. I also doubt it’s nearly as necessary as portrayed and it sure doesn’t make things better.

  • FinEndNow

    At least Indiana has some alumni in DC.

  • FinEndNow

    The Palace of Auburn Hills(22,076)- Auburn Hills
    United Center(20,917)- Chicago
    Quickens Loans(20,562)- Cleveland
    Wells Fargo(20,328)- Philadelphia
    Verizon Center(20,290)- DC… (5 largest in the NBA and in B1G country now)
    Madison Square Garden(19,763)- New York
    Target Center(19,356)- Minneapolis
    BMO Harris Bradley Center(18,717)- Milwaukee
    Bankers Life Fieldhouse(18,165)- Indy
    Barclays Center(17,732)- Brooklyn

    I think it’d be a good idea to have the B1G tourney in different places if possible. It doesnt hurt a single bit.

  • Outoftheloop

    Who cares? We did not win a game when we were terrible, when we were good and when we were mediocre!

  • Ole Man

    That’s what I was counting 🙂 Why leave Tobacco Road? LOL!

  • Alford Bailey

    I called this a couple of months ago but man, so quick? Just one more kick in the teeth. All about the $$$. This isn’t your fathers B1G . I honestly would not care if IU left the conference. Don’t know where they’d go, though. How about a New York conference and a California conference. That way you wouldn’t have to mess with us lousy fly over states. Don’t laugh, it could happen.

  • Alford Bailey

    Thats true. IU had a big advantage in Indy and never took advantage which aggravates me to no end.

  • IUfanforever

    This is the most ridiculous move made by the Big Ten in a long time. Can you think about how far Iowa has to travel? iU travels well so no problem there…But wow this is just a joke.

  • Alford Bailey

    Nebraska and Minny too.

  • Alford Bailey

    So whats the end game here? Swallow up the Big East? Seems like the next logical move to me.

  • IUfanforever

    Wow…..I totally forgot about Nebraska……great point!

  • Shaggy_C

    DC is a bit of an odd choice – I figured they would go for NYC first. Just trying to make some inroads to bring UVA into the new and improved 24 team BigTenTM, I guess.

  • jmfriedman

    Really, really dumb move by the B1G….. Gonna be a ghost town.

  • Ole Man

    Big East won’t happen because it has no football schools.

  • PDXHoosier

    Why not just do it in NYC?

  • MillaRed

    I’m sorry all I needed from these people was the suspension for Hanner a few years ago to realize we are dealing with morons. I have zero interest going to the east coast for a Midwestern event. College Park campus is actually nice. But why commute there from DC under these circumstances? And plan on ten dollar burgers in the DC area. Lived there for two years. Could barely afford to go out.

  • CreamandCrimson

    The Hanner suspension was ridiculous and I hate the inclusion of Maryland and Rutgers and the move to expand the Big Ten into the East Coast…however, what did the Big Ten commissioner have to do with Hanner’s suspension and what did the NCAA have to do with this move?

    “These people” makes it sound like they are one and the same but maybe I am missing something.

  • pbhuff

    DC is also just 3 hrs from NYC and even closer to Baltimore and Philly. Plus the Verizon Center is just a few blocks from DC’s Union station which makes traveling from those cities even easier. When, its held in Indy, the vast majority of fans are coming from 3+ hrs away already.

    Also, alumni out there that have very few opportunities to see games might be more motivated to attend than midwest alumni. At least for the first time they do it, it might draw a decent amount of people living in the midwest as well.

  • plane1972

    There are a ton of alumni from every Big Ten school in the DC area (and eastern seaboard) and those who will travel. It is about expanding the conference brand. It’s a good move to generate more revenue. Indiana fans should embrace that at every turn because the network is what keeps us competitive. It’s not our football program. No offense to the football program. Just the truth.

    I understand the discomfort with moving away from the strictly Midwest definition of the conference, but that is over.

  • plane1972

    Gotta give it a shot, though. I trust Jim Delaney. He’s been right more than he’s been wrong.

  • Banner6

    Thanks Delany, throughout your 25 year tenure you’ve made the Big 10 a defunct conference and this is an example of another one of your dumb ideas. The Big 10 is in dire need of NEW leadership. In the last 30 years it has floundered as a football conference with only 1 outright national championship and 1 shared national championship. Men’s basketball isn’t much better with only ONE national champion in 20 years while the SEC and former Big East have had 6 and the ACC has had 5. Even baseball, last year IU was the first Big 10 team in over 30 years to make to Omaha. That’s an overall piss poor record! Championships bring conferences revenue and viewership which directly effects recruiting and facility upgrades due to $$$. It’s sad to say but there’s really nothing to get excited about with the Big 10. It’s time for a change before the Big 10 become the Big Mid Major.

  • VAHoosier

    Can’t really disagree with all the criticism–I don’t think it’s a real smart move by the B1G. But, on the bright side, I might actually get to go see the Hoosiers play!

  • chiv86

    Isn’t MSG used for the Big East tourney?

  • Gregory Spera

    This is where the addition of that historically elite Rutgers basketball program really starts to pay off, as the B1G tries moving the Conference Tournament up and down the northeast. That part of the country is just INSANE for Scarlet Knight basketball and will fill any arena, anywhere. I’m sure right know this is all New York, Boston, DC and Philly are talking about! Need to check in with my cousins in NYC to see just how exiting the buzz is. They may have to move this thing to a football stadium, like the Final Four.

  • Alford Bailey

    Yea, yea lets move it outdoors to Yankee Stadium. We all know EVERYBODY wants to see Yankee Stadium(not really).

  • Alford Bailey

    Good point. So why move that direction?

  • Alford Bailey

    Valid points. I can’t see what moving the tourney to D.C. will help.

  • iuoiu

    These conf. tournaments are becoming less and less about staying close to home so the everyday fans and students can get there. Now they want big media markets in which they can make a big statement. The ACC, after shacking up in Greensboro/Charlotte for what seemed like an eternity is playing their tournament in DC in 2016 then moving to Brooklyn at Barclay’s for ’17-’18. Brooklyn is quite the stretch for them, just about as much as DC is for us.

    All of these BCS conferences fear being labeled as a regional conference. They want to be seen as more of a national brand so that they can have a larger reach in their recruiting (and TV ratings). The BIG has their sights set on the East Coast, and specifically the Mid-Atlantic region – playing in DC is like a warning shot to the locals down here that the BIG is coming to play.

    I get people being mad about not being able to make the trip. There are indeed plenty of BIG alumni in the DC/Baltimore/Philly/RVA stretch of I-95 but probably not enough to fill the place. But honestly attendance has never been the #1 goal of these tournaments – TV ratings are key.

  • Ole Man


  • Luke72

    Horrible idea if this is the new home for the Big Ten Tourney. oops. I guess I forgot what a Big draw Rutgers is. As a matter of fact why is Rutgers in the Big Ten at all! Seems to me the moves are to turn the BT into a second rate conference!

  • For the Glory

    What stinks is that the typical B1G fan suffers the consequences of the television, “Money” I firmly believe that by opening the door to the Mid-Atlantic Region they are slowly closing the door on us as a Midwesterner. Hopefully some empty seats will help us out.

  • MillaRed

    You are correct. The two never speak. They talk different languages. I’m not arguing over something not worth arguing about.

  • deebo

    With the horrible way conferences realign themselves now not even close to geographically correct this shouldn’t surprise anybody.

  • Fifty-fifty ball

    I hate this Money! Money! Money! This is supposed to be a Midwest Conference. I don’t want Maryland or Rutgers. For that matter, let’s give up Penn State and Nebraska. Obviously I’m showing my old grumpy age with my comments. I love the BIG TEN! I hate the corporate America rules everything. Okay I’m done.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Geez…didn’t mean to rub you the wrong way and I wasn’t looking for an argument. I don’t like that the NCAA gets blamed for every single problem with modern college athletics when they sometimes have absolutely nothing to do with the issue. Sorry for bringing it up.

  • CutterInChicago

    well played

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Man, college basketball is doing it’s damnedest to suck the fan out of me. I think it’s working.

    Calling this collection of teams the big ten is just assinine.