College Basketball

Massive bracket ready for ‘live’ updates during 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Following a washout Monday due to freezing rain, teams in the all-Indiana 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament saw their names added to the 190-foot bracket on the exterior of the JW Marriott downtown on Tuesday.

After four hours of workers scaling the 33-story structure, all the team names were added to the 47,000-square-foot bracket.

How large is each team’s name on the bracket? “Approximately 42 inches tall, 25 feet in length. I mean it looks insignificant from here, but yes, they are big,” said Frank Hancock, founder of Indianapolis-based Sport Graphics. “Once all of the names go up, they will use about 13,000 to 14,000 square feet of material.”

On March 12, 2020, the NCAA tournament was canceled along with the rest of the men’s college basketball season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The cancelation was the first since the tournament began in 1939. This year, all the games for the tournament will be played at six venues in Indiana, four of them in Indianapolis, in an effort to put teams in “bubbles” and curb the spread of COVID-19.

“I cannot comprehend or explain to you how much media attention there is for this (bracket) across the country. I think it is a combination of everyone is excited that the NCAA tournament is going to take place because that is where everything stopped last time,” Hancock said.

Hancock is a lifelong Hoosier and a Ball State University graduate who left his commercial printing job to launch Sport Graphics in 1986. He told News 8 in February that he can’t take all the credit for the bracket; it starts with a design company called Section 127, a business also in Indianapolis.

The bracket on the JW Marriott before the the 2015 Men’s NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis previously held the Guinness World Record for size. This year’s bracket is 25 feet bigger.

But how else is this year’s bracket different from the one put up in 2015? This year’s bracket will be updated after each day of games. 

The “live” component will certainly add more excitement around downtown Indianapolis. 

MORE STORIES