"As a conference, we felt it was time to establish the tournaments at a single site for an extended period in order to maximize the tournaments' success," said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. "We were very impressed by the proposals from Indianapolis and Chicago, both of which have hosted the men's tournament in the past and put forth impressive commitments to serve as the future site. These two cities have been outstanding partners with great facilities and an outstanding base of Big Ten alumni and fans who support college athletics. While this was a difficult decision, we want to recognize the contributions of Chicago to the men's event and we look forward to returning for the 10th annual men's tournament next March."
The tournament proposal by Indianapolis, the Indiana Sports Corporation and Pacers Sports & Entertainment included an increased financial incentive for the conference, the creation of a Big Ten job fair and the endowment of a scholarship to help fund the postgraduate education of a league student-athlete. In addition, the women's basketball tournament will now run from Thursday through Sunday beginning in 2008.
"We are pleased to announce that Indianapolis has been selected to host the Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments from 2008 through 2012," said Delany. "The city of Indianapolis, the Indiana Sports Corporation and Pacers Sports & Entertainment have displayed incredible commitment and effort while hosting the men's tournament in 2002, 2004 and 2006 along with 11 of the 12 women's events since its inception in 1995. This extension recognizes those efforts and the impressive proposal put forth by all involved."
"We are honored the Big Ten has made the decision to keep its tournaments in the finest basketball venue in the world," said Conseco Fieldhouse Executive Senior Vice President Rick Fuson. "This is tremendous recognition of the efforts of all of us at Pacers Sports & Entertainment and we look forward to continuing to enhance the greatest basketball tournaments in the country."
"This is a magnificent achievement for Indianapolis and the result of an exceptional partnership among Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Indiana Sports Corporation, the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana and many local companies and individuals," said Indiana Sports Corporation President Susan Williams. "It is yet another example of the public-private partnership that has and continues to produce significant benefit for Indianapolis. Credit also is due to our many volunteers who have come together to create a celebration of Big Ten basketball."
The Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments have been held jointly in Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse on three occasions, including the 2002, 2004 and 2006 events. In each of those years, the women's tournament established new attendance records, including the current standard when 38,638 fans went through the turnstiles last season for an average of 7,728 patrons per session. In addition, the men's tournament has boasted seven sellout crowds at Conseco Fieldhouse over that time span, including the final four sessions of 2002 and the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds last season. The 2006 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament attracted 90,763 fans for an average of 18,153 patrons per session.
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament has been held in only two cities in its first nine years of existence, including the first four years in Chicago from 1998-2001. Indianapolis first hosted the event in 2002 and the cities have rotated as the home of the men's tournament over the last five seasons. After nine years of tournament play, the conference has welcomed more than 874,000 fans and issued over 5,400 media credentials. Four different league representatives have become Big Ten Tournament champions, with Illinois (2003, 2005), Iowa (2001, 2006) and Michigan State (1999, 2000) claiming the honor twice along with a triumph by Wisconsin (2004). For the ninth straight year, each of the tournament games was televised live on either CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN Regional.
Indianapolis has been the home of the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in 11 of the event's 12 years, including the last five tournaments at Conseco Fieldhouse. In 12 years of tournament play, the conference has welcomed more than 352,000 fans, including over 325,000 spectators to the Circle City. Six different league representatives have become tournament champions, most recently when Ohio State earned its first tournament title in 2006. Purdue has won a league-best five titles followed by two championships a piece for Iowa and Penn State and one crown for Indiana and Michigan State. Every game of the 2006 tournament was televised live by Comcast SportsNet Chicago or ESPN2.