The Basketball Tournament (TBT) today announced that Zelle® is the Official Payment Partner of TBT. Through this partnership, winners will receive TBT’s $2 million prize with Zelle®, during the award ceremony, giving winners speed and access to their prize like never before. Sharing the wealth, the winning team’s top 1,000 fans, as well as the eight regional winners1, will also receive their money with Zelle®. The Championship game is on Aug. 6, live from Wintrust Arena in Chicago and will air on ESPN.
The TBT prize ceremony historically featured Founder and CEO, Jon Mugar, delivering a ceremonial oversized check to the TBT Champion. Checks would take days to clear, with winners unable to access their prize money during that time. This year, for the first time ever, the winning team’s prize money will be sent with Zelle® directly to their bank accounts within minutes of the game ending 2.
"When I first played in the TBT Championship Game in its first year in 2014, no one really knew when we’d receive the money,” said Justin Burrell, four-time TBT champion and player for Overseas Elite. “When I finally won TBT, and got that six-figure check, it was a little nerve-wracking to be carrying around so much money on one piece of paper. We’re looking forward to being the first team to receive our winnings with Zelle® this summer, and spending some of it in the Windy City."
“We’d hear stories from players about walking into a bank the morning after our championship with checks for large amounts and unable to get their money that same day,” added Mugar. “Zelle® has solved a major problem for all of us, not to mention the 1,000 top fans of the winning team, who will also be paid with Zelle®. They’ve helped turn anticipation into celebration by making the funds available on championship night 2.”
Zelle® is conveniently available within the mobile banking apps of Zelle Network® participants – a network that includes hundreds of banks and credit unions of all sizes. Zelle® reduces the complex distribution of the $2 million prize to over 1,000 TBT winners. In addition, Zelle® makes the journey through TBT easier for the competing teams who share a number of expenses: travel, hotels, meals and more. Using Zelle® makes it fast, safe and easy to pay each other back for shared expenses in minutes 2.
Al Ko, CEO of Early Warning Services, LLC, the network operator of Zelle®, will send the winners their prize money—awarded by TBT— live on ESPN immediately after the Championship Game.
“Zelle® is going beyond the game in working with TBT to change payments for players, coaches and fans,” said Ko. “Zelle is being woven throughout the TBT experience, and I can’t wait to get money moving after that final buzzer.”
For more than 100-million consumers, Zelle® is already available from the convenience of their mobile banking app allowing them to send payments to people who bank at different financial institutions in the U.S. To enroll with Zelle®2, visit: enroll.zellepay.com.
To become a TBT fan, and earn a share of the $2 million prize, visit: TheTournament.com/get-in-the-game1.
Brought to you by Early Warning Services, LLC, an innovator in payment and risk management solutions, Zelle® makes it fast, safe and easy for money to move. The Zelle Network® connects financial institutions of all sizes, enabling consumers and businesses to send fast digital payments to people they know and trust with a bank account in the U.S. Funds are available directly in bank accounts generally within minutes when the recipient is already enrolled with Zelle®. To learn more about Zelle® and its participating financial institutions, visit www.zellepay.com.
Entering its sixth year, The Basketball Tournament has grown from a unique idea among friends into one of the most exciting and engaging events on the summer sports calendar, with national TV exposure on ESPN, social media buzz and regional championships across the country culminating in a winner-take-all $2 million game attracting some of the best basketball players in the world. For more information, please visit www.thetournament.com.
Zelle® and the Zelle® related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC, and are used herein under license.