The B1G has recently dipped its toe in the water when it comes to experimenting with the conference tournament. That is, establishing new venues and locations to hold the 14-team event every March.
For many years, the B1G Tournament rotated solely between Chicago and Indianapolis, two centralized locations for the league. Two years ago, the conference played in Washington D.C. and last year hosted the event in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. With Rutgers, Maryland and Penn State in the league, it served as an opportunity for folks on the East Coast to enjoy the event closer to home.
But would the B1G consider adding more locations for the annual tournament, particularly in the Midwest? Current commissioner Jim Delany says it’s worth discussing.
In a recent Q&A with Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, Delany was asked about the idea of adding cities like Detroit, Minneapolis and Omaha to the mix. All three locations have venues capable of hosting the tournament and would be a little closer for other schools in the conference.
“Those are three to think about,” Delany said. “That probably covers the group that we would have conversations with. It’s a competitive world that we live in.”
Delany has done a tremendous job expanding the B1G brand, not only by adding Penn State, Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers to the league, but by helping create the Big Ten Network and providing coverage to hundreds of sporting events throughout the year. Though his run as commissioner comes to an end in the summer of 2020, he still thinks expanding the tournament to other cities is a conversation worth having.
So far, it’s worked in the four other locations the B1G has hosted the tournament.
“Chicago and Indy are proven, great places,” Delany said. “I’m sure they will be involved. But at the same time, we’ve got to make sure that people not only out East have a chance to inspect and participate, we also owe it to ourselves to look at venues in the Midwest that haven’t hosted.”