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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

More March Madness? Fox Eyes New Hoops Tourney In Vegas

  • Developing effort as of now would involve teams from Big East, Big 12, Big Ten
  • Potential new tournament could render significant competitive threat to NIT
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fox Sports is looking to develop a new men’s postseason college basketball tournament that could alter the sport’s end-of-season competitive landscape. 

The event would involve teams from several power conferences that didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament, according to multiple reports.

The competition would involve 16 teams, begin in 2024 or 2025, and be staged entirely in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena between the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight and Final Four. The new tournament would feature teams from the Big 12, Big East, and Big Ten — all of which have existing rights deals with the network. 

Fox vs. ESPN

The effort would heighten an existing battle between Fox Sports and ESPN, particularly within college sports. The pair of networks have already locked down a large portion of major college basketball and football rights outside of the NCAA Tournament itself, which is shown on CBS and Warner Bros. Discovery networks.

ESPN airs the NCAA-owned NIT, and if Fox Sports’ plans come to fruition, the NIT would likely lean further into participating teams from mid-major conferences. ESPN’s existing relationships with the ACC and SEC are reportedly impediments to those conferences’ participation in the potential new tournament, while the Pac-12’s ongoing instability has left its potential involvement uncertain.

Newly installed NCAA president Charlie Baker is said to have asked conference commissioners to “back away” from Fox Sports’ efforts, in part due to concerns regarding the NIT, which has existed since 1938.

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