The Big Ten has played three football championship games in Indianapolis. Now, the conference looks to be making Indianapolis a little bit more than a temporary playground. The Big Ten has announced the Big Ten Football Championship Game will remain in Indianapolis, at Lucas Oil Stadium, through the 2021 season. The decision was given unanimous approval by the conference’s Council of Presidents/Chancellors.
“The Big Ten Conference and member institutions are excited to return to Chicago [for basketball championships] and Indianapolis for future football championship games and basketball tournaments,” said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany in a statement shared by the conference. “These two cities have been tremendous hosts and partners with first-class facilities and an outstanding base of Big Ten alumni and fans who support conference events. We are proud of the history that we have developed with these two great cities and look forward to maintaining a significant presence in both locations.”
Previously, Delany suggested Indianapolis was not to be considered a permanent location for the football championship game, and perhaps that could change over time. Delany once suggested the conference would be open to moving the championship game around to other potential venues within the Big Ten’s map — Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota? — but this decision should put that conversation to rest for some time.
The Big Ten agreed to play the first five championship games in Indianapolis, while at the same time allowing for the conference to weigh all potential options for long-term plans for the game. This is an extension of that agreement. Last year’s championship game between Michigan State and Ohio State saw a record crowd of 66,002 fans attend.
Some Big Ten purists may be reluctant to embrace Indianapolis as a host site for the championship game, but the pros outweigh the negatives for the Big Ten title game. Indianapolis has proven over time to be a terrific host city for these types of events, both for the Big Ten and the NCAA. While playing a Big Ten title game inside and away from the elements identified as Big Ten weather is a negative for some, the controlled climate allows for the most fair and balanced environment possible to determine the Big Ten champion.