The Big Ten is keeping a majority of its signature events in the Midwest.
Easing suspicions the conference would continue to throw itself head over heels at the East Coast, Big Ten administrators unanimously agreed Thursday that the league’s football championship game and basketball tournament will largely stay in Indianapolis and Chicago.
The football game will remain at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis through at least 2021 while the basketball tournament will rotate between Indianapolis and Chicago for all but two years through 2022. The league staged its first three football championship contests in Indy and has held its hoops tournament at either Bankers Life Fieldhouse or the United Center every year since its inception in 1998.
Exceptions will be made in 2017 and 2018 in a nod to Maryland and Rutgers joining the the Big Ten this fall. The league previously announced the 2017 basketball tournament will be held at the Verizon Center in Washington, and the Chicago Tribune reported conference officials are eyeing Madison Square Garden in New York City for the 2018 event. But Thursday’s vote by the Council of Presidents and Chancellors underscored the league’s commitment to its traditional backyard.
“The Big Ten Conference and member institutions are excited to return to Chicago and Indianapolis for future football championship games and basketball tournaments,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. “These two cities have been tremendous hosts and partners with first-class facilities and an outstanding base of Big Ten alumni and fans who support conference events.
“We are proud of the history that we have developed with these two great cities and look forward to maintaining a significant presence in both locations.”