Indianapolis has scored another event-hosting coup by landing the Big Ten Football Championship through 2021 and sharing hosting duties for the conference’s Basketball Tournament with Chicago through 2020, the Big Ten announced Thursday.
The announcement allays suspicion that the conference intended to shift championship play to East Coast venues, with the inclusion of Rutgers University and University of Maryland later this year.
The football championship will continue to be hosted in Lucas Oil Stadium through 2021. Chicago’s United Center will stage the basketball tourney in 2019 and 2021, alternating with Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2020 and 2022.
The women's basketball tournament will be played in Indianapolis from 2017-22.
“These two cities (Indianapolis and Chicago) have been tremendous hosts and partners with first-class facilities and an outstanding base of Big Ten alumni and fans who support conference events,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany in a prepared release. “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.”
The championships are considered big prizes for host cities. The economic impact of the football championship wavers depending on the opponents, but it typically is ballparked between $12 million and $15 million when hosted in Indianapolis. The impact is similar for the basketball tournament—between $11 million and $14 million, hospitality officials have said.
With the addition of Maryland and New Jersey-based Rutgers this July, some observers had questioned whether the Big Ten would take advantage of their locations to host championship events in large East Coast media markets. The conference had previously awarded the 2017 men's basketball tournament to Washington, D.C.
After the city failed to land the 2018 Super Bowl last month, tourism officials said they were immediately headed into negotiations for Big Ten football and basketball events, as well as future Final Fours and 2020 Olympic trials.
Here is the full schedule for the championship events through 2020:
Big Ten Football Championship Game
Previously awarded – Indianapolis (2014-2015)
Thursday’s announcement – Indianapolis (2016-2021)
Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament
Previously awarded – Chicago (2015), Indianapolis (2016), Washington, D.C. (2017)
Thursday’s snnouncement – Chicago (2019, 2021) and Indianapolis (2020, 2022)
(The 2018 tournament will be announced by the Big Ten at a later date).
Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament
Previously awarded – Chicago (2015), Indianapolis (2016)
Thursday's announcement – Indianapolis (2017-2022)