The Big Ten Conference announced today that the Council of Presidents/Chancellors unanimously approved a recommendation from university administrators for future Big Ten Football Championship Games to be held in Indianapolis and for upcoming Big Ten Basketball Tournaments to be hosted by both Chicago and Indianapolis.
The Big Ten Football Championship Game will remain at Lucas Oil Stadium through the 2021 season. The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will rotate between Chicago and Indianapolis, with the United Center hosting the event in 2019 and 2021 and Bankers Life Fieldhouse serving as the tournament’s home in 2020 and 2022. Bankers Life Fieldhouse will also host the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament from 2017 through 2022.
“The Big Ten Conference and member institutions are excited to return to Chicago and Indianapolis for future football championship games and basketball tournaments,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “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.”
“To announce today that our community will host the first 11 Big Ten Football Championship Games at Lucas Oil Stadium and consistently bring the premier basketball events of the country’s marquee conference to Bankers Life Fieldhouse is simply incredible,” said Allison Melangton, Indiana Sports Corp President. “We continue to enjoy an amazing partnership with the Big Ten Conference, and we thank Commissioner Delany and the university leadership for placing their trust in Indianapolis once again. Locally, the support we receive from our financial partners, government entities, venues, committee members, and volunteers allows us to continually host the nation’s best events. It is truly a team effort.”
“Hosting the Big Ten Tournament in 2013 was an amazing experience for Chicago and with our hundreds of thousands of Big Ten alumni, the city was buzzing with excitement,” said Chicago Sports Commission Executive Director Kara Bachman. “We eagerly await the tournament’s return to our world-class city in 2015, and with it look forward to seeing an even broader, national fan base with the additions of Rutgers and Maryland, two great institutions with strong alumni networks in Chicago. We applaud Commissioner Delany’s vision and can’t wait to see it further realized in 2019 and 2021 when the tournament returns to the United Center. ”
The inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game was held at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2011, the start of a five-year agreement with Indianapolis which now extends through 2021. The annual championship game has featured four different teams in the first three years, with two appearances each by Michigan State and Wisconsin and one trip for both Nebraska and Ohio State. The Badgers were victorious in the first two title contests, while the Spartans earned the win last December. The 2013 Big Ten Football Championship Game produced the highest attendance yet, with 66,002 fans
at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament has been held in either Chicago or Indianapolis through the first 17 years of its existence. The annual event returns to the United Center for the ninth time in 2015 and will be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the 10th time in 2016, before making its first appearance on the East Coast when the 2017 event is held at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The site of the 2018 tournament will be announced at a later date. Six Big Ten programs have officially won the tournament, including Michigan State claiming a fourth crown in March. Each of the last two tournaments have been sold out, including a conference record of more than 124,000 fans at the United Center in 2013 and over 111,000 fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse earlier this year, the largest attendance in Indianapolis. More than 1.6 million fans have enjoyed the tournament since the inaugural event in 1998.
The Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament has been played in Indianapolis in 18 of 20 years since 1995. Bankers Life Fieldhouse has hosted the tournament in 12 of the last 13 seasons, while Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., served as the event’s home in 2013 and will host again in 2015. Seven different Big Ten teams have claimed the tournament title, including Nebraska winning the event for the first time in March. The Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament has averaged more than 30,000 fans each year, including each of the last six events held in Indianapolis, with a tournament record attendance of 38,748 in 2012.