Sold-Out BTT Shows Chicago Should Stay In Mix

This past Saturday’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) In 2006, when Indianapolis beat out Chicago for exclusive rights to host the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament from 2008-12, conference commissioner Jim Delany expressed his hope that a fixed location would help boost attendance for his league’s hoops extravaganza.

“We’d like to have all sessions sold out all the time,” Delany told the Chicago Tribune at the time.

Well, that’s finally happened – but in Chicago, not in Indy.

On Thursday, the Big Ten announced that for the first time in the conference tournament’s 16-year history, its four-day event – scheduled for March 14-17 at the United Center – has sold out in advance. The original batch of tickets, which went on sale in October, was gobbled up by the end of January. A limited number of additional tickets went on sale on Feb. 1 and they’re now all gone, too.

This year marks the tournament’s first appearance in Chicago since 2007, and I think the ticket sales prove that the Big Ten should continue bringing it back. Keeping it strictly in Indianapolis just doesn’t make sense.

And, hey, I like Indy. I really do. It offers a compact downtown. It has convenient hotels. And Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium are within easy walking distance from both. It serves as a strong host for both the Big Ten basketball tournament and football championship game and I think Indianapolis deserves to keep having both come to town.

But not exclusively.

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