In May the Big Ten Conference announced that its 2017 men’s basketball tournament will be played in Washington, D.C., with the league taking advantage of the addition of nearby Maryland to the membership. With that decision being made the next step for commissioner Jim Delany is to find a home for the 2018 event, and according to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune there are a couple options on the table.
One of those options is Madison Square Garden in New York City, which would get the event in the largest media market in the country. However the issue at play here is the presence of the Big East tournament, with that conference having an agreement with Madison Square Garden through the 2025-26 season.
As a result, in order for the Big Ten to get into MSG they would likely have to play their event a week earlier, and the financial cost associated with playing at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” is another issue Delany cited in the Tribune story. With this being the case Delany has also discussed other options for the 2018 Big Ten tournament.
Delany told the Tribune that if the tournament does not go to the Big Apple, strong possibilities to host include Omaha, Minneapolis and Detroit.
“I’m thinking that if it’s not New York, we’ll put it up (for bid) and see who’s really interested,” he said. “Omaha is hungry.”
Before scheduling the 2017 event for the nation’s capital only Chicago (which will host in 2015) and Indianapolis (the 2016 host) had the honor of hosting the Big Ten tournament since its inception in 1998. Will the league membership be in favor of another city hosting the event? Those discussions won’t be completed for a while, but it’s clear that Delany is open to the possibility.