Big Ten talking to Madison Square Garden about 2018 basketball tournament, football championship to stay in Indianapolis

Bruce Bennett

The Big Ten's football championship game is staying where it's been, and while a new agreement will add four more basketball tournaments to Chicago and Indianapolis, the league is negotiating to possibly play in New York City in 2018.

After the Big Ten announced that the 2017 Big Ten Basketball Tournament would be played in Washington, D.C., many figured that it was only a matter of time before the conference decided to experiment with hosting other conference events along the East Coast, potentially even the football championship game, which had been in Indianapolis for the past three seasons. The Big Ten ended that speculation today.

The football championship game will be at Lucas Oil Stadium for the foreseeable future. Per a press release:

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.

Extending the agreement in Indianapolis should warmly welcomed by the majority of Big Ten fans. The two eastern additions of Maryland and Rutgers are unlikely to compete for a football championship in the near future, and Indianapolis is a central (as well as affordable) location for most Big Ten fanbases.

The league also reiterated that future basketball tournaments won't permanently take out east. As had been discussed at a press conference a month prior, Chicago and Indianapolis will remain staples of the league's hoops rotation:

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.

That only leaves the 2018 Men's Big Ten Tournament without a host city with D.C. set to host in 2017. Many had speculated that the Big Ten would look towards New York, but the most obvious destination, the Barclays Center, will still be hosting the ACC Tournament in 2018.

Enter world famous Madison Square Garden:

Sources told the Tribune that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has targeted New York’s Madison Square Garden and that Delany visited with MSG officials Wednesday in New York.

The difficulties arise given that the new Big East is already entered into an agreement to have their annual postseason tournament held at MSG in 2017-18. The Big Ten would have to likely get creative with their timing for the event, possibly playing games in the afternoon when the Big East's games are in the evening, having a day off after the tournament's started, or playing later round games in the morning/afternoon when they'd normally be a natural fit for closer to prime time. The Big East's championship game is held Saturday evening, meaning that if the Big Ten desired to continue playing theirs on Sunday, there wouldn't be any obstacles at face value.

Luke Zimmermann contributed to this report

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