Monday March 2nd, 2015

Short a cool million? Does ball moderately resemble life to you? The Basketball Tournament (TBT) can help with that.

The single-elimination, winner-take-all tourney will return in July for its second go-around, featuring an expanded field of 96 teams, new regional sites, and a grand prize of $1 million, twice that of last year's pot. The final four, August 1-2, will be carried by ESPN live from New York, with earlier rounds taking place in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, the site of last summer's inaugural tournament.

“On August 2nd, two teams will play a winner take all game of basketball for $1 million on national broadcast television for the first time, and the door is wide open for anyone out there to create a team and play for it,” said Jonathan Mugar, Founder of The Basketball Tournament. “Last year we were able to prove the concept of a high stakes, democratic tournament, with an exceptionally skilled collection of players and an entertaining event. Our partnership with ESPN, along with our market expansion, further validates that we are on the track to grow even beyond what we had hoped for in year two.” 

In the tourney's first go-around, the Fighting Alumni, a team composed of former Notre Dame stars, took home the championship and $500,000 check. Entry is free, and qualification is based on the size, engagement and quality of teams' social media and fan presence on the tournament's official website. In a new twist, registered fans of the winning team will split 5 percent ($50,000) of the overall prize. Registration is completely open, and literally anyone 18 or older can enter. Looking at you, Air Bud.
 

To jog your memory, here's a look at last year's field, which featured luminaries like Smush Parker, Marshall Henderson, Aquille Carr, and Matt Bonner's brother Luke. The Fighting Alumni will return to defend their title. And now there are 96 teams! That's three times as many! How could it get any better?

Registration opens April 1. Paging Jimmy Chitwood.

-Jeremy Woo

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