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Thursday, June 5, 2014
Chicago, Indy to host Big Ten events

By Adam Rittenberg
ESPN.com

The Big Ten soon will have a larger East Coast presence, but it is keeping most of its major events in the Midwest.

The league announced Thursday that its football championship game will remain in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium through 2021.

Meanwhile, the Big Ten men's basketball tournament will rotate between Chicago's United Center (2019, '21) and Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis (2020, '22). The women's basketball tournament will be played in Indianapolis from 2017-22.

Big Ten
Lucas Oil Stadium will continue to host the Big Ten football championship game through 2021, which would be an 11-year run for the event in Indianapolis.

"We've always intended to use those cities," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN.com. "They've been great partners. We're fortunate to have great fan bases in both places, tried and true success in both of these cities.

"It gives us a lot of stability going forward."

Last month, the league caused a stir when it announced the 2017 men's basketball tournament would be played in Washington D.C. at the Verizon Center. The Big Ten adds new members Maryland and Rutgers on July 1, and moving the tournament to Washington is part of a larger East Coast push, which includes opening a second league office in New York City.

The Big Ten basketball tournament has been played only in Indianapolis or Chicago since its inception in 1998.

The basketball tournament will be played in Chicago next March and in Indianapolis in 2016. Negotiations on the site for the 2018 event continue and an announcement should come later this month.

"We said from the inception that we expected to live in two regions and we've been doing that," Delany said. "I'd be shocked if we didn't have very deep engagement in both regions. With the number of institutions, fan bases, cities, I'd expect there to be a rotation."

The Big Ten has had its first three football championship games at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium and will head there again the next two years as part of an agreement finalized in 2011. Unlike in 2011, when it entertained formal bids from both Indianapolis and Chicago, the Big Ten had no formal bid process this time.

Delany noted the event is still in its infancy and must be grown first before the league will consider moving it.

"We've been cautious in trying to grow it, trying to understand it," he said. "We're not near a point of moving it for sake of moving it. We always thought it will be central. By the time we'll finish up [the agreement], it will be 11 years there.

"At that stage, you look at, are we at the right place? Do we need to go to a bid process? Is a rotation right?"

The Big Ten will monitor facilities and events and other cities that would be considered for future sites. Minneapolis last month was awarded the Super Bowl in 2018 for its new football venue.

The league's 2015 women's basketball tournament will be played in Hoffman Estates, Ill., at Sears Centre Arena before returning to Indianapolis for the next seven years.