Big Ten Basketball Tournament Moving To New City in 2017
For the first 17 years of its existence, the Big Ten Conference men’s basketball tournament has been held in either Chicago or Indianapolis, Indiana. Each of those cities will host the tournament one more time before the event moves to a new location.
On Tuesday (May 6, 2014), league officials announced that the Big Ten tourney will be going to the East Coast for the first time in 2017. The 20th annual event will be held at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. from Wednesday, March 8th through Sunday, March 12th.
The tournament will feature Iowa and the conference’s 13 other teams. The winner earns the Big Ten’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Verizon Center is a 20,000-seat multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue, which opened 16 years ago in downtown Washington, D.C. The arena is home to three professional sports teams — the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals and WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
The inaugural Big Ten tournament was held in Chicago in 1998 and returns to the United Center for the ninth time in 2015. Indianapolis hosted this year’s tournament and will do so again in 2016, when the event returns to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the 10th time.
Staging the 2017 tournament in Washington is the latest in a series of moves designed to increase the Big Ten’s presence on the East Coast. On Monday, the conference unveiled plans to take part in an annual early-season men’s basketball series with the Big East Conference beginning in 2015.
In November 2012, Big Ten officials announced the addition of Maryland and Rutgers as future conference members. The Terrapins and Scarlet Knights are set to officially join the conference on July 1, 2014.