COLUMBUS — The Big Ten's inexorable eastward march continues.
The league announced Tuesday it will hold its 2017 men's basketball tournament at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. — the latest in a series of moves designed to crack the major East Coast markets.
“We've come here not to visit, but to live,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Tuesday in the nation’s capital.
Reasoning the financial windfall from an expanded footprint will offset the diluting of its Midwestern identity, the announcement follows the Big Ten’s addition of Rutgers and Maryland, the opening of a second league office in New York City, and the unveiling this week of an early-season basketball partnership with the Big East.
Beginning in 2015-16, teams from the Big Ten and remade Big East will meet in eight on-campus games over four straight days during the first week of the season. The first round of Gavitt Tipoff games — which could include an anticipated Ohio State-Xavier pairing — will be announced next spring.
The Big Ten tournament, meanwhile, is set to move beyond Indianapolis or Chicago for the first time since the event began in 1998. The league is also looking at New York City as a future tournament host — either Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Though Delany has said Indianapolis and Chicago will remain prominently in the rotation, he made clear the foray into Washington will not be a one-off novelty.
“I see us returning here,” he told reporters. “I don't know what the precise rotation will be, but I can tell you we'll be here regularly over the coming decades.”