The Basketball Tournament announces format, locations for 2021

The Basketball Tournament announces format, locations for 2021

Now entering its eighth year, The Basketball Tournament (TBT), the million dollar, winner-take-all event televised live on ESPN, today announced its dates, locations, and host teams for TBT 2021.

After successfully building a “bubble”in 2020, TBT became the first sporting event in the United States to crown a champion amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. TBT will once again expand its field to 64 teams competing across four regions in 2021 and welcome fans back into attendance. The event will kick off July 16 on the campus of Wichita State University. 

Eight quarterfinalists will advance to Championship Week at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio, culminating with a million dollar, winner-take-all championship game August 3 on ESPN at 9p EST. 

“It’s hard to believe we are heading into our eighth year,” said TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar. “It’s a testament to our team, our general managers, players, and passionate fanbase. We expect over a hundred teams to apply for 64 slots and every game to live up to TBT’s unique brand of high stakes, intense, team-oriented basketball.”

Regional Host Cities

Wichita, Kan. – headlined by AfterShocks (Wichita State) – July 16-20

Charleston, W.Va.  – headlined by Best Virginia (West Virginia) and Herd That (Marshall)  – July 17-21

Columbus, Ohio – headlined by Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State) and Red Scare (Dayton) – July 23-27

Peoria, Ill. – headlined by House of ‘Paign (Illinois) and Always a Brave (Bradley) – July 24-28

Championship Weekend in Dayton

Quarterfinals – Saturday, July 31 

Semifinals – Sunday, Aug. 1 

$1 Million, Winner-Take-All Championship – Tuesday, Aug. 3 

TBT 2021 will once again feature an open-application process, allowing any team or group of players in the world to apply through May 1 - June 15. The 64-team, single-elimination bracket will be released on June 28. The field is expected to consist of international pros, college alumni teams, ex-NBA players, future NBA players and others. 

For the fourth year in a row, TBT games will feature the Elam Ending, the end-of-game format adopted by the NBA All-Star game for the past two years that eliminates the game clock after a certain point and features teams playing to a Target Score.

Last year, TBT crowned its seventh champion: the Golden Eagles Alumni, a Marquette alumni team,  after NBA veteran Travis Diener knocked down a game-winning three during the Elam Ending to defeat Sideline Cancer for the million dollar prize. The year before, Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State) defeated the Golden Eagles in front of several thousand in Chicago, after knocking off undefeated, four-year dynasty Overseas Elite. 

All TBT games will be shown live across the ESPN networks, with game times to be announced in June.

Tickets for TBT summer events can be found at Tickets will be sold at limited capacity on April 14, in accordance with all local health and safety regulations. Further tickets may be released at a later date, pending updated guidelines and availability. 

For venue-specific safety protocols, please visit 

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