The Big Ten is fast-breaking its way to the east, and creating a footprint that is growing larger by the day.
The conference announced Tuesday it will hold the 2017 men’s Big Ten Basketball Tournament at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The first 17 tournaments were held in Chicago, Ill., or Indianapolis, Ind.
“I think it’s great,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Tuesday. “It gives us a larger presence in the East. It improves our recruiting territory and our fans in that region can see us play. The players will enjoy the experience. It (Verizon Center) is a first-class facility.”
The 2017 tournament will be held March 8-12, 2017. The Verizon Center, a 20,000-seat facility in downtown Washington, D.C., is home to three professional teams: the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. The arena is 16 years old.
“We’re thrilled to announce plans to host the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament in Washington, D.C.,” Big Ten commissioner James E. Delany said. “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.”
Delany also said that Washington, D.C., will be in the rotation as tournament site for years to come. The tournament was played before sellout crowds in 2013 in Chicago and 2014 in Indianapolis. It will return to Chicago in 2015 and Indianapolis in 2016 before heading east.
The Big Ten expands to 14 teams with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers on July 1. The move to Washington, D.C., is seen as a way to welcome Maryland to the league after years in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“Our coaches, administrators and presidents all want to be here,” Delany said.
Delany hasn’t been shy about the league’s reach to the east. The Big Ten announced in April that it would open a second office in New York City while securing access to satellite office space in Washington, D.C.
“We came here not to visit, but to live,” Delany said.
Full release by 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.