The Big Ten will hold its 2017 men's basketball tournament at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C., the conference will announce Tuesday, according to the Baltimore Sun. It will mark the first time the event will be held outside Midwestern Big Ten strongholds Chicago and Indianapolis since its inception in 1998.
It continues the Big Ten’s recent trend of establishing roots in the Northeast and along the East Coast. On Monday, the league announced the Dave Gavitt Tipoff Games, which will pit the Big Ten against the Big East in an eight-game event to start the college basketball season, beginning in 2015.
“The important thing for us is that we want to talk about being in two regions in one conference, but we want to live it, too,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told the Sun. “It’s good, but it will require hard work to bind the conference together.”
On July 1, Maryland and Rutgers become official members of the Big Ten. The conference is opening a staffed office in Midtown Manhattan and a satellite office in Washington this summer. They’re also beginning a partnership with the Pinstripe Bowl, advertising inside Yankee Stadium during all events at the historic venue and adding Johns Hopkins as a member of the Big Ten lacrosse conference.
Delany said the conference anticipates moving the event among several venues in the Midwest and Northeast.
“I think all of us now live in two regions,” Delany said. “My perspective is that it’s one thing to be in two regions, but it's more important to live in two regions. This is the first opportunity we had to demonstrate that in basketball. We get incredible responses [in New York]. You can expect us to try and plant flags and have friends and try to become more relevant in both [New York and Washington].”
The 2015 Big Ten Tournament will be played at the United Center and the 2016 tournament is at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The 2016 ACC Tournament is at the Verizon Center.
“It’s a great basketball region, lots of great fans. We’ve got a lot of people living in the East,” Delany said. “Not only do we hope to stimulate and entertain Maryland and Rutgers fans, but also our fans who live in the East. We’ve got nearly six million alums living around the country, and probably a million from D.C. to New York. We’ve got a pretty significant community, and we wanted to get out there ASAP.”