ROSEMONT, Ill. – The annual business meeting for the Big Ten Conference men’s basketball coaches was held at the Big Ten headquarters in Rosemont, Ill., on Wednesday. The conference officially welcomed Illinois head coach Brad Underwood and Indiana head coach Archie Miller, recapped the 2016-17 season and looked ahead to a promising 2017-18 campaign.
Big Ten television partners saw steady growth in viewership during the 2016-17 campaign, including a record-setting season for BTN. The network featured a cumulative viewership increase of 19 percent from the 2015-16 season, including six of the top-10 rated conference games in its history. BTN also aired four of its top-five rated non-conference games since the network’s launch. CBS also saw a double-digit percentage increase in viewership from the previous year, including a 10 percent growth in the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament at Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
The 2016-17 season marked the 10th consecutive that every Big Ten men’s basketball conference regular-season and tournament game was nationally broadcast. More than 200 games featuring conference teams appeared on BTN, CBS Sports, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
The nation’s leading attendance numbers also signaled continued support across the Big Ten’s 14 institutions. Big Ten programs drew 3,026,859 fans at home games, eclipsing three million for the second time in the past three years. Eleven conference teams ranked among the top 30 in the nation in accumulated attendance, while 82 games were sold out at Big Ten arenas, marking the fifth consecutive season with at least 80 sellouts. The official NCAA attendance report will be released this summer. The Big Ten has led the nation in attendance for 40 straight seasons.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany had this to say at the conclusion of the meeting:
“College basketball is alive and well, and on a great trajectory,” Delany said. “We are fortunate to have such great coaches to teach and lead these young men, and such passionate fans eager to support their teams both in arena and on television. We had a competitive, compelling year last year and a lot to look forward to this coming season.”
The 2017-18 Big Ten men’s basketball season will feature the third annual Gavitt Tipoff Games versus the BIG EAST Conference, the 19th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the third consecutive “Super Saturday – College Hoops & Hockey” doubleheader at Madison Square Garden in late-January, and the 2018 Big Ten Tournament at the World’s Most Famous Arena from Feb. 28-March 4, 2018.