ESPN Extends State Farm Champions Classic Deal Through 2022; Future Sites Include NYC, Chicago
The State Farm Champions Classic — a neutral site doubleheader featuring Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan State — has been renewed through 2022. The early-season event heads to Chicago (2020), New York City (2021), and Indianapolis (2022) at United Center, Madison Square Garden, and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, respectively. The inaugural game was held at Madison Square Garden in 2011 followed by the Georgia Dome in 2012.
“We are excited to continue with this marquee event, as it has become a fixture on the college basketball landscape,” says Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming and events.” The credit goes to these four outstanding programs for coming together annually to launch the season.”
This year’s Classic will feature No. 10 Michigan State facing No. 1 Kansas, and No. 4 Duke facing No. 2 Kentucky on college basketball’s opening night from Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Nov. 6 (7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m., ESPN). The event returns to Madison Square Garden in 2019.
Future Champions Classic Matchups
2019 (New York City)
- Kansas vs. Duke
- Michigan State vs. Kentucky
- Michigan State vs. Duke
- Kansas vs. Kentucky
2021 (New York City)
- Kansas vs. Michigan State
- Kentucky vs. Duke
- Kentucky vs. Michigan State
- Duke vs. Kansas
- Millions of fans have tuned into the Champions Classic over the last seven years. The 2017 matchups delivered the event’s second-highest viewership ever, behind the 2013 Classic.
- A combined 18 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (since 1939): Kentucky (eight), Duke (five), Kansas (three) and Michigan State (two).
- A total of 56 NCAA Final Four appearances (since 1939): Kentucky (17), Duke (16), Kansas (14) and Michigan State (9).
- Since the Champions Classic began in 2011, all four teams have reached the NCAA Final Four at least once, with Kentucky and Duke winning national titles, in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
- Over the last 14 games of the Classic, there have been 13 top-25 matchups and eight top 10 matchups, including two games featuring No. 1 vs. No. 2 (according to the AP poll).
- Four Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coaches in Calipari, Izzo, Krzyzewski, and Self
- To date, the event has taken place in four cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Indianapolis, and New York.