Fox, AEG to Compete With March Madness by Launching New Post-Season Hoops Tourney ‘College Basketball Crown’

Does the sports world have room for April Action after weeks of March Madness?

Fox aims to answer the question in 2025 when it launched a new post-season college-basketball tournament in tandem with large sports and music promote AEG Worldwide. The College Basketball Crown will rely on 16 teams drawn largely from the Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East conferences, with the possibility of other participants. The first tournament is slated to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas from Monday, March 31 to Sunday, April 6, 2025. All the games will air on Fox and Fox Sports 1.

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“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 Jordan Bazant, executive vice president of Fox Sports, 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.”

Fox’s new tournament will no doubt compete for attention with the annual NCAA March Madness championship, a month of college basketball that has become one of the biggest properties in national sports. A women’s basketball championship that takes place in the same time frame has in recent years gained new traction with fans. But it will also vie with the venerable NIT, the original post-season college hoops tourney which has been superseded by the Final Four.

The tournament launches as more media companies seek to devise sports events over which they have more control. In the era of streaming video, sports properties are perhaps the last to continue to generate the large simultaneous audiences that advertisers and distributors crave. But the rights fees each set commands have grown exorbitant. To push back on that trend, some media outlets have tried to create their own events and competitions. Fox, for example, is an owner of the UFL spring-football league, while Warner Bros. Discovery has created a series of celebrity golf tournaments that rely heavily on athlete participants. CBS in 2022 launched a celebrity pickleball tournament backed in part by late-night host Stephen Colbert.

Teams that don’t qualify for the NCAA tournament will be eligible for the College Basketball Crown, according to Fox, with two automatic qualifiers coming from each participating conference and additional teams chosen by a committee.

AEG Global Partnerships will have exclusive rights to all commercial sales and sponsorship activations for the College Basketball Crown with Fox Sports overseeing media rights and broadcast sales.

Commissioners for the three college leagues support the new concept. “We are confident that the formidable capabilities of Fox Sports, AEG, and their event partners will translate into a high-quality post-season opportunity for our coaches, players and schools,” says Val Ackerman, the Big East Commissioner. “College basketball’s popularity is on the rise, and we look forward to being a part of another meaningful postseason moment for our student-athletes,” says Brett Yomark, the Big 12 Commissioner. The event “is sure to be an exciting post-season opportunity for our student-athletes, coaches and fans across the country,” says Tony Pettiti, the Big Ten Commissioner.

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