Monday, December 8, 2014

Short take on the 2018 Big Ten tournament at MSG

* In the near future, the Big Ten is expected to announce that their 2018 men's basketball tournament will be held at Madison Square Garden.  Per the report from Sports Illustrated, the conference is not displacing the Big East, but they'll hold the tournament the week prior to the Big East tournament.

A couple interesting items that encompass the forthcoming announcement:
  • The conference does not have a TV partner for this tournament as it will be the first tournament under a new rights agreement.  Currently the tournament is split between BTN, ESPN and CBS.  BTN and ESPN split the first three days equally, then CBS has the semifinals and championship games.  It would not surprise me though if the conference has been working with a future TV partner(s) on this tournament and the schedule surrounding it.

    Let's say the tournament remains a Wednesday through Sunday event as the SI report mentions and BTN continues to split the first three games with another network.  Would that network carry games in the afternoon & cede to BTN in the evening or vice-versa?  The conference tournament would be concurrent with the final week of the regular season for most other conferences and, for example, ESPN has a fairly regular rotation of games on weeknights and FOX usually has Big East & Pac-12 games.  Maybe BTN would take a larger role, much like both the Pac-12 and SEC Network have with their respective conference tournaments.

    It wouldn't surprise me if the schedule changed.  We should know more when the conference & MSG have an official announcement.
  • The conference members are not 100% set to ending their regular seasons at the end of the tournament.  There is nothing stopping any member from scheduling a game after the conference tournament, whether its Senior Day, a game to keep the team ready for the postseason or one to try to lift someone off the bubble.  St. Mary's did this in both 2009 and 2011, but neither extra game was enough to lift them to an NCAA tournament at-large berth.
There are definitely signs pointing towards FOX on a few items, such as this and the new Gavitt Challenge (though the first two years would have ESPN as a potential telecast outlet).  Whether it is to add content to BTN and in the process get content for a new media deal with the conference remains to be seen.

For now, this is only a one year deal.  No locations beyond 2018 have been set.


Hokie Mark said...

That last bullet point is interesting. What prevents B1G teams from playing a non-conference game (assuming they could find a partner)? Can you say NCAA tune-up...?

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Yep. There are schools that might be willing to take the extra game. OVC, WCC, A-Sun, Big South all might be willing. Schools from Big West, Southland & Big Sky also do not send their entire conference to the conference tournament, so schools do get left out and could be available.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Ivy League is also available, but schools may want to keep their schedules free since they could be in playoff scenarios.

John A. said...

i know you're not a big fan of my conspiracy theories, but do you think delany has set his sights on using his inevitable superior attendance figures for the B1G at MSG to leverage his way into the more traditional tournament date in future years?...the gates are bound to dwarf that of the big east shindig, especially with no 'cuse or uconn presence

Matt Sarzyniak said...

No worries on the conspiracy theories. This is going to sound bad, but I'm not remembering any at the moment unless you post them under a different online handle.

I think we need to see how the attendance numbers are and if those midwest schools decide to make the trip, referring to Iowa, Nebraska, heck will the school closest make the trip (Rutgers). I don't think the attendance was awful for the Big East, based on the numbers provided and shots I saw of the crowd. 15,290 was the listed attendance for the final of Providence-Creighton and I know CU sold a lot of tickets and travel packages (yes, Doug McDermott isn't walking through that door in the future).'s_Basketball_Tournament

I think we need to see how it plays out. Attendance could fall for the Big East, but the number was good enough that MSG isn't kicking them out for that. I know that MSG worked with the conference to keep ticket prices low for travel purposes.