Big Ten Announces Championship Venues
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jun 6, 2011 3:05PM
The Big Ten announced the locations for their conference tournaments and championship games through 2015, and the Chicago area will play host to a number of them. However, the Windy City didn't land the biggest of prizes -- the Big Ten football championship game.
Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium will host the Big Ten football championship game through 2015. Weather was one of the big factors in selecting Indy's dome. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany stressed "fan comfort" and "the consistency of planning for both teams." He didn't rule out outdoor football down the road. "I don't think we've made an unequivocal statement about outdoor football (in December). We want to get off to a stable start with our championship game and launch from there." Given that the cold and snow are a big part of Big Ten football, we can only hope they come to their senses and move the game outdoors in '16.
While Soldier Field didn't land any football, the area did win a number of Big Ten basketball tournaments. In 2013 and 2015, the men's basketball tournament will return to the United Center while the women will hoop it up at the Sears Centre in suburban Hoffman Estates. Indy hosts both tourneys in 2012, '14 and '16. The UC hosted the men's tournament from it inaugural event in 1998 until 2001, as well as in '03, '05 and '07, but Conseco Fieldhouse has played host each of the past four years.
So why does Indianapolis have the upper hand in hosting Big Ten championships? Chicago is more centrally located, with the addition of Nebraska to the league, and has the largest base of Big Ten alumni. The Big Ten's offices are even located in suburban Park Ridge. But while the local venues put together three separate proposals for Big Ten university presidents and chancellors to consider, the Indiana Sports Corporation presented a unified proposal touting their facilities. Said Delaney, "The people in the NFL, NBA and NCAA will tell you this: Indianapolis has a unique ability that has been developed over the last three decades to deliver turnkey events in a quality way."