Events & Announcements

The Basketball Tournament presented by Jack Link's® Protein Snacks Announces Record $2 Million Prize and Sites


Charlotte, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles To Host Regionals; Super 16 in Philadelphia; Semifinals and Winner-Takes-All Championship in New York


Philadelphia, Penn. and Boston, Mass.-- February 23, 2016 -- The Basketball Tournament (TBT) presented by Jack Link's® Protein Snacks today announced that they have doubled the winner-take-all prize money to $2 Million for 2016, with the winning team's fans sharing 10 percent of the prize: $200,000. The open-to-all, single-elimination, summer basketball event will be open to applicants starting April 1st  and play its winner-takes-all, $2 million championship on ESPN August 2nd.


"Doubling the prize to $2 million and allowing the winning team's fans to share 10 percent of that is a massive step towards our goal of empowering sports fans," said Jon Mugar, TBT founder and CEO. "The interest and support we've received from all areas of the basketball world has been overwhelming and we can't wait to see what communities of teams form over the next several months."


TBT's social media driven application period launches on April 1 on The field will be made of 64 teams who will play in four regions of 16 apiece. The top 12 vote getters by fans in each region will receive "automatic" bids, while TBT will select four at-large teams per region to complete the field.  Teams can qualify for TBT 2016 only by getting votes from fans who register on the site, with the top 100 fans of the winning team splitting $200,000, or 10 percent of the total prize.


The 2016 Regional Cities will be: South (Charlotte) July 9, 10; West (Los Angeles) July 9, 10; Midwest (Chicago) July 16, 17; Northeast (Philadelphia) July 16, 17.  Super 16 & Quarterfinals (Philadelphia) July 21, 21, 23. Semifinals (New York) will be on Saturday July 30th with the Championship (also New York) on Tuesday August 2nd.


The Super 16 will take place at Philadelphia University from July 21-23, and the semifinals and championship game will be at Fordham University in New York for the second consecutive year. ESPN will televise the three games from New York live.


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 Fordham's 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. Over 300 teams applied to join the tournament last year, which saw the winner-take-all prize double in value.


Players must be 18 years of age or older and all games are played under college rules with two 18-minute halves. In addition to Overseas Elite, university-based alumni teams representing schools like Syracuse University, Notre Dame, Princeton, Villanova, Virginia and others have competed in TBT's previous editions, with more likely to join them in this and future years.



Conceived by CEO Jonathan Mugar as the ultimate opportunity for fans, athletes and social media mavens to live out their dreams and chase once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, TBT's foundation as a high-stakes, professionally run and organized sporting event, now sees it entering its third year. In its first two seasons, The Basketball Tournament drew over 400 team entries from around the country, with participants ranging from professional players and recent college stars to pickup basketball players and people who have never played above high school.  Among the event's advisors are Tony Ponturo of Ponturo Management Group, Andy Dolich of Dolich Consulting, and Len DeLuca of Len DeLuca & Associates, LLC. The partnership agreement was secured by TBT's sponsorship agency of record, Equity Sports Partners, which is led by Cliff Kaplan. For more details visit:


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Media Contacts:

Kirmser Ponturo Group

After turning the Jackie Robinson-Branch Rickey story 42 into a hit, Legendary Pictures is now targeting Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi for a feature film. Legendary has made a deal with All Is Lost and Margin Call writer-director J.C. Chandor to write with an eye to direct a feature about the coaching legend who led Green Bay to five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl titles. Legendary, whose principal Thomas Tull is a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a passionate pigskin fan, will produce the film with Mary Parent. She produced Pacific Rim and Godzilla for Legendary. Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser will be exec producers.


Chandor, who made his feature directing debut on his Oscar-nominated script Margin Call, is once again in the awards season conversation for his follow-up All Is Lost, which stars Robert Redford as a man struggling to survive on the open seas. Chandor is casting up his next directorial outing, A Most Violent Year, which will star Jessica Chastain with production to begin early next year.


chandorHe has already begun writing the new film, and Legendary has assembled a rights package that includes a deal with the Lombardi estate, as well as the Broadway play written by Eric Simonson that starred Dan Lauria and Judith Light. That play was based on the David Marannis book When Pride Still Mattered, and that is also part of the package.


Even though Lombardi built a team so dominant that the NFL put his name on the Super Bowl trophy, he was a decided underdog in the journeyman’s quest to become a head coach. Lombardi, a fiery disciplinarian, seemed stuck when he was offensive line coach of a New York Giants team that lost the 1958 championship game. His Giants counterpart on the defense, the cool Tom Landry, was signed to head the Dallas Cowboys after being widely courted. Lombardi practically had to beg to run a Packers team so dismal that other team owners wanted to fold the franchise. Lombardi turned the team into perennial winners, and got his showdown with Landry in the 1967 league championship game, known as the Ice Bowl because it was played in 13 below zero temperatures. The Packers won.


This becomes the second high-profile picture in the works on Lombardi. Eric Roth has scripted a Lombardi film for Robert De Niro to star in in a project that is being developed by De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Productions, ESPN Films, the National Football League and Andell Entertainment. The intention was to have had that one done already, but I’m not sure if it deserves to be flagged for delay of game or if it lost steam. Roth was basing that one on Instant Replay, the memoir by Packers lineman Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap. Last I heard, De Niro had stepped off that project as an actor, and they were eyeing John Travolta.

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