INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Big Ten men’s basketball tournament continues this weekend.
The tournament started Wednesday and for the first time it’s happening away from Indianapolis and Chicago.
Indianapolis has been the host city for the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament ten times since it began in 1998. If it’s not in Indy, it’s in Chicago, but this year the NCAA began rotating the event and it is in Washington D.C.
That’s a loss of $11 to $14 million of an economic impact on Indianapolis.
“You know our hotel rooms are usually sold out for two or three days at a time at least the core of downtown. Restaurants, of course, pair with teams and we have great restaurant partnerships. It’s really sort of a great, quality, vibrant event for us in the core of our downtown,” Ryan Vaughn, president of Indiana Sports Corp, said.
Vaughn said while he understands the logic of rotating throughout the expansive Big Ten Conference region, he still believes Indy is the best at hosting the event.
“I mean not only are we centrally located within the region, we’re easy to get to. We have a great compact downtown, but this is Indiana in March. We are basketball. Throughout the country that’s what we’re known for when it comes to sports, so we have a great fan base here. We have a lot of Big Ten alumni here. We’re easy to travel to. I feel like we do a really nice job as a community hosting that event,” Vaughn said on Friday.
The Big Ten men’s basketball tournament will return to Indianapolis in 2020 and 2022. Vaughn expects those years to be a revival for the event.
Despite the loss of the tournament this year, Indiana Sports Corp didn’t waste any time filling up the month of March with major collegiate events.
Already this month Indy hosted the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament.
Next weekend, tens of thousands of fans will attend the first and second rounds of men’s basketball tournament, which is the start of what we call March Madness. We will find out Sunday which teams will be here for those first and second round games of the men’s basketball tournament on March 17 and 19. Indiana Sports Corp expects it to be a sold-out event.
Also, the NCAA men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships, fencing championship, and women’s water polo championship happen in Indy this month.