For the better part of nearly two decades, the Big Ten was all about familiarity and consistency on having both Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and the United Center on the West Side of Chicago play host to the final weekend of tournament play just mere minutes before CBS would give us that “first live, exclusive” look at the brackets.
On Monday, Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany not only managed to make waves, but he is looking to leave more than just a ripple effect in welcoming with open arms two new conference members in Rutgers and Maryland come July 1. First came the news that there will be a preseason Big Ten/Big East tournament slated for early November 2015, named after the late founder of the Big East and longtime NBA executive Dave Gavitt.
Not to confuse anyone with the wildly popular Big Ten/ACC Challenge that the ESPN family of networks love to hype around the Thanksgiving holiday–anytime a game in the Gavitt Classic is held at a Big Ten campus, either ESPN or BTN (Big Ten Network) will televise it. Likewise, if the game is at a Big East gym, the very green Fox Sports One will have tons of graphics to get you pumped for 40 minutes and then some (no, that is not the name change I am planning for my blog for the 2014-2015 season).
But getting back to my point on the Big Ten’s expanding footprint into the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States:
You see it inside Yankee Stadium, where all 14 school logos are imprinted along the foul lines. Cable systems are clamoring to have the Big Ten Network taken off the second tier and into basic service just like in the Midwest.
Multiple online and broadcast reports have a press conference scheduled for Tuesday, at which time the Big Ten will be announcing the 2017 postseason tournament will be taking place at the normal home of the Georgetown Hoyas, the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. (wonder if President Obama, whom will then be just a few weeks moved out of the White House be available to any of the cable outlets by being a color commentator at that time? Remember back during his first term, he sat on a CBS broadcast with Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg).
I guess the Big Ten is no longer about familiarity with location. It is all about grabbing and taking a firm hold on that next big thing.
Only time will tell in this blog reporter’s mind if the crowds (let alone how many scores of eyeballs that were tuning on their TV’s/smartphones/Android/other mobile devices or listening in on Sirius/XM satellite radio if their local school gets knocked out in the early rounds) would prove to be just as successful as loyal fans in Chicago or the simply basketball crazed hotbed that is Nap Town Indy.
No doubt that the tourism both in and around the Beltway will be up in which is normally the time where most people watch the blossoming of the cherry trees. And Maryland travels well, but will they be in the same class as Indiana during the 1980’s and 1990’s, or both Michigan and Michigan State in more current times?
That will definitely be something to ponder over the next few years.
For those reading in the Mid-Atlantic region, I am sure you are all very excited.
No more Duke. No more North Carolina. Not even Notre Dame is welcome, except for NCAA Tournament play. I guess that is the way things will be going forward.