As part of the partnership, TBT will reserve the 16th spot in each of the tournament’s four regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, West) for the team in each region that raises the most money to support their local Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliate through GoFundMe. Teams can create their GoFundMe campaign starting June 2 at 12 p.m. EST, and they can raise money until June 13 at 12 p.m. EST.
“This partnership with GoFundMe and Big Brothers Big Sisters not only gives teams another way of getting into the tournament, but it will also benefit the communities in which we play,” said Jon Mugar, CEO and founder of The Basketball Tournament. “One thing we’ve learned since announcing a $2 million prize is that it’s going to be difficult to become one of the 64 teams selected. We already have hundreds of teams applying. By nature of our process, our teams and fans are already social media savvy, grassroots organizers, so fundraising should come naturally to them.”
“We are excited to work with The Basketball Tournament to help make a difference in communities across the country. The social media driven approach to The Basketball Tournament makes it a perfect partner for GoFundMe,” said GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon.
“It is great to see an event like this turned into an opportunity to help children across the country,” said Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “By partnering with TBT, Big Brothers Big Sisters local affiliates will be able to match more children with supportive mentors.”
TBT’s social media driven application process is housed on TheTournament.com. The field will be made up of 64 teams who will play in four regions of 16 apiece. The top vote-getters in each region will receive “automatic” bids. TBT will select the remaining at-large teams in each region – with the exception of the teams that win the GoFundMe charity fundraising competition, who are also guaranteed spots. The 64-team field will then compete for the $2,000,000 winner-takes-all grand prize. The top 100 fans of the winning team will share 10% of the prize, splitting $200,000.
The four local chapters of Big Brothers Big Sisters that will benefit from the crowd-sourced fundraising are: Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region (Philadelphia); Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles; and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties (Chicago).
The 2016 Regional venues will be: South (Charlotte-Grady Cole Center) July 9, 10; West (Cal State-Los Angeles) July 9, 10; Midwest (Chicago-St Xavier University) July 16, 17; Northeast (Philadelphia-Philadelphia University) July 16, 17. TheSuper 16 & Quarterfinals will also take place in Philadelphia from July 21, 21, 23. The semifinals (New York City) will take place on Saturday July 30th with the Championship (also New York) on Tuesday August 2nd. ESPN will televise the three games from New York live, with additional broadcast dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
TBT’s 2015 field included hundreds of players who have competed at the highest levels all over the world. Overseas Elite, a team of veteran international professional players, won last year’s $1 million winner-take-all title at historic Rose Hill Gymnasium. Fans who voted for Overseas Elite shared in the winnings, taking home a combined $50,000 of the grand prize. The Notre Dame Fighting Alumni, a squad made up of some of the best players in University of Notre Dame history, won the inaugural title and $500,000 in 2014.