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Fox, AEG announce launch of College Basketball Crown postseason tournament

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fox Sports and AEG will launch a new postseason college basketball tournament next year.

The College Basketball Crown will be a 16-team tournament that will take place March 31 through April 6, 2025, in Las Vegas. The games will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and T-Mobile Arena. Both venues have hosted college basketball games in the past, including the Pac-12 tournaments.

Teams that did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament will be eligible. The Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East — whose games are carried on Fox — will each have two automatic entries. The additional teams will be selected by a committee.

“Postseason college basketball is one of the most exciting times of year and FOX Sports is proud to be at the forefront of efforts to evolve and elevate the sport,” said Fox Sports EVP Jordan Bazant in a statement. “Alongside AEG and the Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East, we are thrilled to provide more opportunities for student-athletes to compete in high quality postseason college hoops and for viewers to enjoy the chase for the College Basketball Crown.”

The tournament is expected to be the biggest competitor to the National Invitation Tournament. The NCAA, which runs the NIT, changed its selection process this season to include more teams from Power Six conferences.

However, at least eight schools — all but one being from one of the power conferences — declined invitations or said in advance it would not participate in the 32-team tournament.

The NIT is college basketball’s oldest major postseason tournament and once its most prestigious, Games were played at New York City’s Madison Square Garden from 1938 until 2019. The 2022 final returned to the Garden, but last year’s final four was in Las Vegas with this year’s taking place this week in Indianapolis.

NCAA spokesman David Worlock pointed out that NIT attendance is up 19% — including sellouts for the semifinals and final — and that television ratings have increased 5%,. Indiana State will face Seton Hall for the NIT title Thursday night.

“We look forward to continuing the rich 86-year history and tradition of the National Invitation Tournament offering an inclusive postseason experience by competing for the best available teams to invite,” Worlock said.

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