Ivy League Tournaments moving to Yale’s Lee Amphitheater

The Ivy League Tournament is on the move.

The Ivy League announced Thursday that after being held the past two seasons at the Palestra on Penn’s campus, the 2019 Ivy League men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held at Yale’s John J. Lee Amphitheater, Payne Whitney Gym on Sat., Mar. 16 and Sun., Mar. 17.

Saturday will feature two men’s semifinals at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and two women’s semifinals at 6 p.m. and approximately 30 minutes after the first women’s semifinal. The men’s championship is set for 12 p.m., Sunday with the women’s championship game to start at 4 p.m.

All six tournament matchups will be featured on ESPN networks.

The Ivy League noted that the site for the 2020 Ivy League Basketball Tournaments will be determined at a later date as the League continues to explore various options.

2019 Ivy Madness schedule 
Saturday, March 16
Game 1: Men’s No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 seed – 12:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 2: Men’s No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed – 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 3: Women’s No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 seed – 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 4: Women’s No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed – approximately 30 minutes after conclusion of game 3 (ESPN3)

Sunday, March 17

Game 5: Men’s Final: Winner of game 1 vs. Winner of game 2 – 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 6: Women’s Final: Winner of game 3 vs. Winner of game 4 – 4 p.m. (ESPNU)

The league argued that its tournament format has added to the importance of the regular season, noting that last season, the four women’s seeds were determined on the final evening of the regular season and seven of the eight teams had a shot at nabbing a tourney berth.

Yale lists 2,800 seats with 1,500 permanent and 1,300 in pull-out bleachers  for John J. Lee Amphitheater, nearly 6,000 fewer seats than the Palestra’s capacity of 8,722.

This season, the combined attendance for the four semifinal games last season was 5,219, with the combined attendance for the two title games totaling 5,564, Philly.com reported, adding that the Saturday attendance was 5,025 and the Sunday attendance was 3,833 in 2017, the first ever conference tournament for the Ivy League’s men and first tournament for the women since 1986.


The Ivy League apparently favors holding the tournament in an Ivy gym as opposed to a neutral site, doing so three years in a row now despite criticism that it gives the host a home-court advantage:

“Ivy Madness unites the high-quality level of basketball in our League with the excitement of March,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said. “We anticipate another electrifying atmosphere in New Haven.”

6 thoughts on “Ivy League Tournaments moving to Yale’s Lee Amphitheater”

  1. While the idea of HCA has Yale alums excited, I still prefer a neutral site. We’ll take this gift, but, in the long run, it doesn’t make sense. League should find a central location – somewhere between Ithaca and Princeton – that will seat 6 – 8K. Play at the same place every year.

  2. Here’s a suggestion: Westchester County Center, White Plaints, NY. Both Knicks G-League team and NY Liberty play there. 5000 capacity. Numerous hotels; great restaurants; excellent transportation options. Perfect location; plus 5 minutes from my home.

  3. My hope for the 2019 season is for both the men’s and women’s regular season championships to be won by Princeton or Penn, and then both tournament titles won by Yale.

    I mean, how many times does the League office need to be hit on the side of the head before they realize that fixing the site of the tournament before the season at the home of one of the contenders is simply unfair?

    The League administrators lucked out in 2017 when Princeton forced overtime to steal their game from Penn. But instead of learning from that near-miss, the League honchos opted to test fate again and got burned: #2 seed Penn beat #1 Harvard by less than the three-point edge provided by home court advantage.

    In 2019, on both the men’s and women’s side, I hope to see a #3 or #4 seed Yale squad win the championship by winning all four games (two semi’s and two finals) by one or two points. Maybe then the League office will finally wise up.

  4. Princeton’s FORMER playing site, Dillon Gym, can seat more people than Yale’s dinky little home court. How about moving the Tournament to Princeton which could host two games simultaneously?

  5. Better yet, let’s kill this Tournament now. Just because other conferences have them doesn’t require us to do so. We’ll never get consensus on this. But, the Tournament has thusfar achieved nothing and given the Ivies nothing. Fortunately, we haven’t has a two game wonder 4th seed win it (yet). Let’s put this mistake of a tournament to bed before that happens.

  6. I respectfully disagree with my colleague who argues against the tournament. The tournament has injected a lot of new enthusiasm and fun into the Ivy basketball season. And so far it has not caused any real damage; worthy teams (indeed, the worthiest teams) have won all 4 titles so far on both the men’s and women’s side. I’m not sure what the thinking is about moving the venue to Yale, although maybe the idea is to pick a truly neutral site for the likely finalists on the men’s side in 2019: Penn and Harvard. It’s hard to imagine that Harvard won’t be in the final given the talent they return in 2018-19. Ditto for Penn. Yes, Princeton could (and hopefully will) spoil the party, and Yale and Cornell conceivably could be in the mix. But realistically the men’s title should come down to Penn and Harvard again, and Yale might be as good a venue as any to decide that contest. Just my two cents.

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