The Basketball Tournament (TBT) will be held exclusively at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, from July 4-14 and broadcast on ESPN, it has been announced.
This year’s event will be a 24-team single-elimination tournament featuring former National Basketball Association players, college stars, and international standouts who will compete for a winner-take-all, $1m prize.
Traditionally, TBT has 64 teams, is held in multiple locations, and has a $2m prize for the winner. But its format has been changed in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
TBT will become the first televised basketball competition in United States since the coronavirus-enforced shutdown in mid-March. All 23 games will be broadcast on ESPN networks.
The quarantined, single-site tournament will not have spectators. Teams and staff will arrive five days prior to competition for multiple rounds of Covid-19 testing. Once underway, a single positive test by a team member would result in the removal of the entire team.
This year’s TBT also marks the beginning of a three-year extension with ESPN that will run through the summer of 2022. ESPN has been a broadcast partner of the event since it was founded in 2014.
In 2019, a record 48 hours of TBT aired on ESPN networks with a combined audience of more than five million viewers.
“Everyone is unified in wanting to see basketball on TV again, and our players can’t wait to compete,” TBT founder and chief Jon Mugar said in a press release.
Among the participants, according to ESPN, is seven-time National Basketball Association All-Star Joe Johnson, who will be competing for Overseas Elite.