Indianapolis has quickly become the mecca of Big Ten football and basketball.
The conference’s Council of Presidents voted unanimously that the newly created Big Ten Football Championship game will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis from 2012 until 2015. The stadium had already been named as the host for the inaugural game in 2011.
The addition of Nebraska in 2011 set up the possibility of a championship game because the 12 teams have been split into two, six-team divisions.
The state-of-the-art home of the Indianapolis Colts, which will also host the 2012 Super Bowl if the NFL lockout is resolved, beat out Chicago’s Soldier Field. The championship game is expected to give the city a $19-million boost, according to Fox59 in Indianapolis.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany cited weather as the prime factor in deciding the location of the title game. He later added that the conference wanted to build a foundation and holding the game indoors would be a good way to do so, he said.
“The playing surface did not [impact the decision], the weather did. If you look around the country, you have to make decisions about, ‘Are you going to settle into one place and build? Do you want to start alternating?’” Delany said.
Fox will air the football championship games on primetime from 2012 to 2015, and Delany said that the network indicated a preference for an indoor venue from a broadcast perspective.
While the football game will have a permanent home for the next five years, the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be rotated from 2013 to 2016.
The men’s tournament will be held at Chicago’s United Center in 2013 and 2015, and Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse in 2014 and 2016.
The women’s tournament will be alternated as well, with the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. serving as the host in 2013 and 2015, and Conseco Fieldhouse in 2014 and 2016.
Conseco will host both the men’s and women’s tournament in 2012.
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