The Big Ten landscape changed in a big way back in 2014 with the additions of Maryland and Rutgers. Moving to the East Coast also meant finding a way to connect programs from Nebraska to New York.
One way to make that happen was to put the Big Ten tournament on the road more often. This past March the Big Ten basketball tournament was held outside of Chicago or Indianapolis for the first time ever.
It’s new home was the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. and by just about every measure possible it was a success. Ratings were up, in-person attendance was great and the world of the B1G didn’t implode like many believed it would.
That success has apparently gotten Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany in the mood to think about moving his tournament even more. Delany spoke with ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg about a number of topics, and the location of the tournament was one of them.
Jim Delany thinks cities like Detroit, Minneapolis and other cities “should aspire” to bid on future Big Ten basketball tournaments. “I can’t tell you that it will happen, but I would encourage interested parties to seek it,” he said. “We have obviously, by going to D.C. and New York, demonstrated that we are a conference that’s got to serve a lot of different geographies.”
Following this season the Big Ten tournament will be played at venerable Madison Square Garden. Then it will be back in Chicago and Indianapolis for a four-year rotation amongst the two host cities.
After that things appear to be up in the air, but it would be interesting to see how the Big Ten fanbase would take to tournaments in Minneapolis and Detroit. Both cities (or surrounding areas) failed in building anything that would attract people to the Big Ten hockey tournaments and neither are exactly destination places for Big Ten fans to visit.
If this tournament is going to rotate more often, NYC and Washington, D.C. make perfect sense. Detroit and Minneapolis really don’t. But, as we’ve seen plenty before, what Jim Delany wants, Jim Delany gets.