How is COVID-19 impacting TBT 2020?
We are monitoring statewide and federal regulations regarding social distancing and group gatherings. In June, we will be rolling out an updated tournament structure and safety protocols for players. The dates, cities and information on our 2020 Format page will likely change as a result. In the event locations change or fans are prohibited from attending, an immediate refund will be issued to all ticket purchasers. If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to email us at info@thetournament.com. 

How can I watch?
All TBT games air live across ESPN Networks. Check back for schedule.

Where/when are the games?

United States. Summer 2020.

How is the field selected?
We select the field from the application pool, which runs March 15 – June 15.

Who can apply to enter a team?
Anyone 18 or older.

Who has won TBT?
2014: Notre Dame Fighting Alumni (Notre Dame Alumni)
2015: Overseas Elite
2016: Overseas Elite
2017: Overseas Elite
2018: Overseas Elite
2019: Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State Alumni)

Do NBA players play in TBT?
In TBT 2019, 59 players with NBA experience participated. NBA players under contract typically play the part of de facto team owner, GM, Booster, or Coach.

Do players ever go on from TBT to play in the NBA?
34 players have gone on from TBT to sign deals with NBA teams. Malcolm Miller has gone on to win a NBA Championship with the Toronto Raptors. Mike James holds the career high for points in a NBA game by a former TBT player (26 pts, 11/26/17, Phoenix Suns).

How do you seed the teams?
We make an assessment on each team’s talent, chemistry, and reliability.

When do you release the bracket?

What is the tournament format?

What are the game rules?
College rules (5-on-5) except we play four 9-minute quarters, each team gets 4 timeouts per game, each player gets 6 fouls, international rules on basket interference (except on foul shots), and we use the Elam Ending.

What TBT innovations are now used in other sports leagues?
The NCAA Tournament now uses TBT’s post game bracket celebration ritual, which features someone from the winning team placing its team name into the next round on an oversized bracket board. The NBA All Star game adopted the Elam Ending in 2020, which eliminates the game clock at the end of play and sets a Target Score.

What is the origin of the Elam Ending?
Basketball superfan, member of Mensa, Ball State Professor, and Cincinnati Reds Groundskeeper Nick Elam emailed us blindly at info@thetournament.com in August of 2016 with a rule change proposal he called the "Hybrid Duration Format," which TBT would later rename the Elam Ending. Nick DVR’d over 2,000 NBA and NCAA basketball games over a ten-year period and found that the trailing team resorted to intentional fouling at the end of the game in roughly half of all games. Furthermore, he noted it was only an effective strategy for the trailing team 1.5% of the time. So Nick’s idea was to shut the game clock off halfway through the fourth quarter and set a Target Score. The first team to the Target Score wins. After working with Nick, TBT decided to implement the format in June of 2017. It has proven to be wildly successful amongst fans of all ages.

Since all TBT games end on a game winning shot, here’s a list of our top Closers and how many games they’ve ended:
Jeremy Pargo (Overseas Elite) – 5
Marvelle Harris (Challenge ALS) – 4
Jerome Randle (Eberlein Drive) – 4
Jamil Wilson (Golden Eagles, Marquette Alumni) – 4
Samme Givens (Brotherly Love) – 3
Jordon Crawford (Team Fredette) – 3
David Lighty (Carmen’s Crew, Ohio State Alumni) – 3

Who refs?
Many of our referees work March Madness or the NBA. Three per game for all games.

How is the championship prize split up?
GMs negotiate with each team member over his/her share of the final prize. 


How do I apply?
Email: teams@thetournament.com

What is the entry fee?
Zero dollars, unless you purchase one of our eight buy-in slots. Email teams@thetournament.com.

What do I have to do for my profile to show up online?
You must fill out a form here and send a video of yourself to video@thetournament.com so we can verify your identity.

What does a GM do?
The GM builds and runs the team. He or she is the final voice when it comes to any team issues.

Who would make a good Booster?
Someone with access to a lot of people through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blog, media outlet, alumni network, etc. A Booster can be a person or organization.

If I’m listed as a player on a team that isn’t selected, can I play on one of the teams that did?

If my team makes it in and loses, can I jump on another team?

Can players play in both NBA Summer League and TBT?
Yes. Lots of players do this. This year, none of our games overlap or precede NBA Summer League.

Can women play?
Yes. We've had 15 women play in TBT thus far, and several more have served as GM or Coach.

If we want to give our winnings to charity, how do we do that?
Teams may give their after-tax portions of the winnings to any charity they desire (as Notre Dame Fighting Alumni did with Coaches vs. Cancer in 2014). If you’d like to give ALL of your winnings to a non-profit, it would be beneficial for the non-profit to enter the team itself. If this is an option you'd like to pursue, please email teams@thetournament.com.

Does TBT pay for travel?
Teams are responsible for travelling themselves to the opening weekend. If your team makes it to Championship Week, TBT pays for flights and hotels for each team’s players and GM. Once you're selected, we will provide you with a suggested list of hotels for the opening weekend. For Championship Week, we will determine the hotel.


I signed up as a Fan last year. Do I have to sign up again?
No. You just have to log in. If you forgot your login information, click "Reset Password" at the Login Page. Your points will be reset to 0 each year.

Can I support more than one team?

Can I have multiple accounts?

Can I switch which team I support?
Yes. You can switch anytime without penalty until August 5 at 12p ET.


Why are you doing this?
We love the idea of allowing anyone the opportunity to put their own team into a major, televised sporting event. And the winner-take-all pay structure yields an unselfish and intense brand of basketball unique to TBT (and the 4th quarter of the 2020 NBA All Star Game).

The TBT team:
Jon Mugar (@jonmugar) – Founder/CEO
Dan Friel (@tbtfriel) –EVP, Team Relationships & General Counsel / Co-founder
Jen Todd (@tbttodd) – EVP / Co-founder
Jennette Puzzo (@nettieb15) – VP, Events
George Alexander – Event Director
Josh Brown (@josh_brown31) –Manager of Content
Jake Pavorsky (@jakepavorsky) – Director, Player Personnel & PR
Brett Danahy – VP, Partnerships
Jack Roberts – Partnership Manager
Andrew Krause (@ndrewkrause) – Art Director
Brian Gemma – Event Coordinator
Hakeem Williams (@CoachHakeem) – Team Relationships
Rob Kennedy – Game Operations
Mike Burks – Producer
Rod Reichley – Producer
Mark Sullivan – Security
HallPass – Content
Tupelo Raycom – TV Production
Advisors – Vin Martelli, Tony Ponturo, Len DeLuca, Andy Dolich


Email us at info@thetournament.com or call 617-314-6710

The information provided on this page is intended as a general guideline, subject to the Rules, which provide discretion to TBT concerning the final selection of players and teams.