Big Ten Network

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Big Ten Network
Big Ten Network.png
Launched August 30, 2007
Owned by Fox Entertainment Group (21st Century Fox) (51%)
Big Ten Conference (49%)[1]
Picture format 720p (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
Slogan This is Big Ten Country, This is Where it Lives
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area United States
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Sister channel(s) Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
Fox Sports (broadcast operation)
Fox Sports Networks
Fox College Sports
DirecTV (U.S.) 610 (HD/SD)
Overflow HD/SD: 610-1, 610-2, 610-3, 610-4
1610 Video on demand
Dish Network (U.S.) 405 (HD/SD)
Overflow HD: 5441-5447; 9500
Overflow SD: 410; 588-591
Shaw Direct (Canada) 265 (HD)
410 (SD)
Overflow : varies
Time Warner Cable 382 (HD/SD)
Cablevision/Optimum 720 (HD)/413 (SD)
Available on most U.S. and Canadian cable systems Main: BTN Channel Finder
Overflow: BTN Game Finder
Verizon FiOS 585 (HD)/85 (SD)
AT&T U-verse 1650 (HD)/650 (SD)
Overflow : 1691-1699
Streaming media
Big Ten Ticket (by subscription, outside of US and Canada)

The Big Ten Network (BTN) is an American sports network dedicated to the Big Ten Conference, jointly operated by the conference and Fox Sports. It is the first internationally distributed network dedicated to covering a single college conference. The network's lineup includes telecasts of Big Ten events, archived events involving Big Ten schools, studio shows, coach's shows, documentaries, and other programming related to the conference.

The network reaches approximately 90 million households nationwide and is available up to an estimated 100 million households in the United States and Canada.[2] It is headquartered in the former Montgomery Ward & Co. catalog building at 600 W. Chicago Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.[3]

The network has agreements with more than 300 providers.[4] It is carried nationally on DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse; and regionally on nearly every cable system in the Big Ten's 14-state footprint, including AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications, Time Warner Cable, Cable One, Cablevision and several others. In Canada, it is available on Shaw Direct, Shaw Cable, Rogers Cable, and EastLink. The network is available on cable in 19 of the 20 largest U.S. media markets.[5]


The network took root following negotiations between the Big Ten and ESPN in 2004. With three years remaining on the conference's existing deal, the conference sought a significant increase in rights fees. ESPN, however, balked, causing Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany to begin exploring the creation of his own network.[6]

BTN was unveiled on June 21, 2006, as a 20-year joint project of the Big Ten Conference, and Fox Entertainment Group. At launch, 51% of the network was originally owned by the conference itself, while Fox owned a minority interest in the network, while also handling the operations for the network. The network was positioned to be the first ever cable channel dedicated to a single collegiate conference.[7] The network also has a commitment to "event equality", stating that it would produce and distribute an equal number of men's and women's events across all platforms, within three years of being on the air.[8] The deal was meant to replace the Big Ten's television contract with ESPN's ESPN Plus regional television package. ESPN Plus games were typically only seen on one over the air station in one team's local market, such as the Illinois Fighting Illini on Champaign station WCIA.

Big Ten Network was launched on August 30, 2007. On September 1, 2007, the network aired its first live telecasts, which included a football game between Appalachian State and Michigan—the game itself gained national attention for its upset victory; being the first win between an unranked Division I FCS team and a Division I FBS team since the splitting of Division I into two divisions by the NCAA in 1978.[9][10] However, the new network suffered from limited carriage on its launch, only being carried by two major television providers. By the following year, the network had reached its goal to attain carriage on the "extended basic" tiers of cable providers in all Big Ten markets.[11]

While no specifics were revealed, Fox acquired majority control of Big Ten Network in June 2010 using a provision in its contract with the conference, and now holds a 51% stake. The change is not expected to alter the channel's operations[12]

In time for the 2011 college football season, the network unveiled a new look (including a new logo and updated on-air appearance), and also introduced a new TV Everywhere service known as "BTN2Go", which offers live streaming of BTN telecasts and other programming through a web browser or mobile app. The service was initially available to subscribers of Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, DirecTV, and Dish Network.[13]

BTN and Dish Network were involved in a dispute leading up to the expiration of their contract a day before the 2012 college football season began.[14] A temporary blackout from September 14–22[15] gave way to a new agreement, restoring BTN to Dish Network.[16]

Executive personnel[edit]

Mark Silverman is the first President of the network. He used to be a General Manager and Senior Vice President of ABC Cable Networks Group.[17] Mark Hulsey joined the network in July, 2009 as the Vice President of Production/Executive Producer. Hulsey previously served as Executive Producer for Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Kansas City, and Fox Sports Indiana. Michael Calderon is the Vice President, Programming and Digital Media. Calderon has been with the network since 2007, and served nearly six years at The Sporting News as its Director of New Media. Elizabeth Conlisk has held the Vice President, Communications title since March, 2007. Conlisk was previously at Ohio State University for six years, most recently as a Special Assistant to the President for Executive Communications. Quentin Carter has served as Senior Coordinating Producer, overseeing studio programming since 2007. Bob Lanning also serves as a Senior Coordinating Producer, overseeing all live events. Bill Friedman joined the network at the inception in 2007, now serving as Coordinating Producer of all Original Programming. Among Friedman's responsibilities includes the oversight of "The Journey" series, one of the network's most significant successes.

On-air staff[edit]

Studio hosts[edit]

Original logo, 2007-2011

Play-by-play announcers[edit]

  • Ari Wolfe
  • Gus Johnson, longtime NFL and NCAA basketball voice for CBS Sports, now NFL and Pac-12 voice for FOX Sports
  • Kevin Kugler current Jacksonville Jaguars preseason play-by-play announcer and eight-time Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year
  • Thom Brennaman, who has called the BCS, NFL and MLB on FOX, lead TV voice of the Cincinnati Reds on FSOhio
  • Eric Collins, former non-NL West road game TV play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was previously at ESPN
  • Wayne Larrivee, long time Big Ten play-by-play announcer and former voice of the Chicago Bears, Cubs, Bulls, Kansas City Chiefs and current voice for the Green Bay Packers Radio Network
  • Tom Hamilton, long time Big Ten play-by-play announcer and current radio voice of the Cleveland Indians
  • Dave Revsine
  • Matt Devlin, current TV play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Raptors
  • Mike Crispino, also works for MSG and is the TV play-by-play announcer for the New York Liberty.
  • Brian Barnhart, voice of the Fighting Illini
  • Leah Secondo
  • Brent Stover
  • Tracy Warren
  • Tom Werme
  • Brian Anderson, current announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers on Fox Sports Wisconsin and baseball announcer for TBS
  • Chris Denari current TV play by play for the Indiana Pacers
  • Matt Rosen
  • Matt Shephard current Detroit Lions Pregame host and FSN Detroit Reporter and College hockey Announcer
  • Ben Holden current College hockey Announcer for FSN Detroit and Comcast Local
  • Dan Kelly



Men's basketball[edit]


Women's basketball[edit]

  • Stephanie White, former Purdue player
  • LaChina Robinson, former Wake Forest player
  • Brooke Weisbrod, former Coastal Carolina player
  • Mary Murphy, former Northwestern player and Wisconsin coach
  • Vera Jones, former Indiana assistant coach
  • Brenda VanLengen, former Nebraska coach


  • Cal Eldred, former major leaguer and Iowa pitcher
  • Danan Hughes, former Iowa outfielder and NFL wide receiver
  • Scott Pose, Iowa native and former MLB outfielder

Sideline reporters[edit]

Ice hockey[edit]




Live sports coverage[edit]


  • Through the creation of the Big Ten Network, every home Big Ten football game is nationally televised
  • Each team is guaranteed to make a minimum of two appearances on the network per year and one of those must be a conference game
  • The network televises approximately 35-40 football games each fall and all of them are available in high definition

Men's basketball[edit]

  • Through the creation of the Big Ten Network, every home Big Ten basketball conference game is nationally televised, and every non-conference and exhibition game is either televised or streamed on
  • Each Big Ten men's basketball team makes approximately 10-20 appearances a season on the Big Ten Network
  • The network televises approximately 60-65 in-conference match-ups, plus selected Big Ten Tournament contests, and virtually all of those games are produced in high definition
  • The network streams a select number of non-conference and exhibition games live on
  • The network has a set on-site at the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis, with anchors providing coverage and analysis of all the action

Women's basketball[edit]

  • Each Big Ten women's basketball team makes approximately 8-10 appearances on the Big Ten Network
  • In all, the network televises approximately 50-60 regular season games plus approximately nine Big Ten Basketball Tournament games and all of these games are produced in high definition
  • The network streams dozens of games live on, giving Big Ten women’s basketball the most exposure of any conference in the country
  • The network has a set on-site at the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis, with anchors providing coverage and analysis of all the action


  • The Big Ten Network televises approximately 25 baseball games each spring, all in HD
  • Each Big Ten baseball team makes approximately 5-8 appearances on the Big Ten Network
  • In 2009, the network televised the Big Ten Baseball Tournament from start to finish

Ice hockey[edit]

  • The Big Ten Network will air 27 men's ice hockey games during the 2013-14 season, the conference's inaugural season of organized hockey. This includes the Big Ten Hockey tournament and a pre and postgame show dedicated to showing hockey highlights called BIG TEN Frozen Fridays and the Finale Rush [19]

Olympic sports[edit]

  • The Big Ten Network televises more than 170 NCAA-sponsored events in both men's and women's sports such as hockey, soccer, volleyball, track and field, swimming and diving, etc.

Big Ten Championships[edit]

  • The Big Ten Network televises 21 Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, including baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s field hockey, men’s and women’s golf, men's and women's gymnastics, women’s rowing, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field and men’s wrestling.[20]

Online streams[edit]

In the 2009-10 school year, BTN began charging $2.99 per event for online feeds due to their significant financial investment in the latest streaming technology.[21]

Regular shows[edit]

  • Big Ten Tonight: A weekly thirty-minute show similar to ESPN's SportsCenter only offering highlights and discussion of Big Ten football, basketball and other sports. Dave Revsine, Rick Pizzo, Mike Hall and Lisa Cornwell anchor. Other reporters and analysts appear depending on the sport being discussed. Airs Sundays.
  • Big Ten Football Saturday: On Saturdays during football season, the day's games are discussed and highlights are shown. There's the pre-game, halftime, and post-game editions for all games. Dave Revsine hosts and Gerry DiNardo (who they call "Coach") and Howard Griffith provide analysis.
  • Friday Night Tailgate: A 90-minute lighthearted and irreverent show airing on Friday nights that looked at campus life surrounding football weekends. The host was Mike Hall, with correspondents Charissa Thompson and Chicago-area improv actors Jordan Klepper, Steve Waltien, and Tim Baltz. In 2010, the show was cut to 60 minutes and shortened its title to Big Ten Tailgate.
  • Big Ten Tip-Off Show: A pre-game show in which the day's basketball games are discussed. Hosted by Dave Revsine. Gene Keady, Jimmy Jackson, Tim Doyle and Kendall Gill provide analysis.
  • Coaches Q&A: Excerpts from the week's press conferences
  • The Big Ten's Greatest Games: Classic football and basketball games, with editing of some non-essential game action out to fit time constraints.
  • The Big Ten Women's Show: Covers women's sports throughout the conference. Airs at 10 PM ET on Mondays.
  • The Big Ten Quad: a weekly sports discussion show with Big Ten legends.
  • Big Ten Cookout: a half hour cooking/tailgate show that airs live on Saturdays at 10 AM ET. It is hosted by Melanie Collins from a different Big Ten campus every week. The chefs are Julius Russell and Ben Walanka (from season five of Hell's Kitchen).
  • The Big Ten's Best: a weekly countdown show with lists of the top 10 Big Ten teams or players in a certain category, such as "best running backs of the 1990s" or "best quarterbacks of the 1980s". It is hosted by Charissa Thompson.
  • Various coach's shows.
  • University Showcase - a program block of non-sports campus produced programs. Each school has equal time.
  • Student U - Game broadcasts produced by university broadcast departments involving students controlling production and play-by-play which are usually seen only on closed-circuit campus cable networks.
  • "Big Ten Frozen Fridays" : is a Big Ten Hockey pregame show that's airs before most Big Ten hockey hockey games on the Big Ten Network with game previews and game highlights from all around the Big Ten Hockey Conference
  • Big Ten Football: Breakdown: Every week, Big Ten coaches and players review the previous week’s game film, looking for the positives and the negatives. Network analysts will give fans a look at the nuances of the game and what affected the teams’ success. Airs Tuesdays at 10 PM ET.
  • Big Ten Football: Sites & Sounds: The show includes segments from press conferences, media interviews and the games, as well as other behind-the-scenes footage, hosted from the network's Chicago studios. Airs Wednesdays at 10 PM ET.
  • Big Ten Football: Behind the Schemes: The network's resident head coaches go head-to-head each week, breaking down film and putting together game plans for the upcoming week’s games. Airs Thursdays at 10 PM ET.
  • Big Ten Football… & Beyond: The show previews the weekend’s games with reports from each Big Ten stadium and takes a look at key national match-ups that could impact Big Ten postseason plans. Airs Fridays at 10 PM ET.
  • Big Ten Film Vault: A vintage Big Ten film from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Hosted by Dan Dierdorf.
  • Big Ten Icons: Each show highlights a Big Ten athlete from a wide range of sports and history. Notable subjects include Jesse Owens, Jack Nicklaus and Steve Alford.

New basketball shows in 2010[edit]

The network launched three new basketball shows, beginning in January 2010, dedicated specifically to Big Ten basketball.[22]

The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2010: Episodes will follow multiple teams each week throughout the season letting fans experience the conference's 10-week schedule in a documentary-style format. Airs Sundays at 9 PM ET.

Big Ten Hoops: On Campus: Mike Hall, Jim Jackson, Tiffany Simons and Natalie Kane will visit a different campus each week to showcase the loyalty, passion and tradition that defines Big Ten basketball and their fans. Hour-long show airs Fridays at 10 PM ET.

This Week in Big Ten Basketball: Dave Revsine hosts the show alongside Jim Jackson and Dan Dakich. The show will provide a comprehensive breakdown of all of the Big Ten hoops action of the week. Airs Sundays at 9:30 PM ET.

Program milestones[edit]

  • First program: Big Ten Tonight, August 30, 2007 at 8 p.m. ET
  • First live football games: Four regional college football telecasts on September 1 at noon ET, including Appalachian State's historic upset win over Michigan
  • First women's sports event: Syracuse at Michigan State, soccer, September 2
  • First men's non-revenue sports event: UCLA at Indiana, soccer, September 2

High definition[edit]

The 720p high definition simulcast of Big Ten Network launched simultaneously to the regular channel. It is available nationally on DirecTV and Dish Network; and regionally on Verizon FiOs, AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Mediacom, and several other cable television systems. In Canada, it is available nationally on Shaw Direct and regionally on Shaw Communications, and EastLink. All of its original programs and studio shows are in HD, as well as nearly all of its sporting events and some of its school-produced coaches and campus shows. The channel has produced all of its football games in HD since 2009.[5] In 2011, the standard definition version of the network was converted to 4:3 letterboxing, in line with all of Fox's networks going with a completely widescreen presentation for all forms of programming.

Football overflow feeds[edit]

Many times on football Saturdays, the Big Ten Network produces multiple games that air at the same time. The network designates one game as its national game, which is shown on the main channel on satellite systems. The remaining games air on the main channel in the local markets and on the extra football game channels in the remaining markets. Most cable systems inside the Big Ten's eight states offer these Big Ten Network extra football game channels or "out-of-market" feeds. All the extra football game channel feeds are available nationally on DirecTV and Dish Network; and regionally on AT&T U-verse, many Comcast systems, and several other cable systems.

Some providers only carry the overflow feeds in standard definition, and providers outside of the U.S. provide them in out-of-market subscription packages.

Big Ten Network On Demand[edit]

Big Ten Network On Demand, offers viewers BTN's programming such as Big Ten Tonight, The Journey, Big Ten Quad and Big Ten Short Stories, original specials, press conferences and highlights specific to each school, as well as magazine and coaches' shows. DirecTV and Dish Network subscribers get content for all 11 schools, while cable customers only receive content for the school(s) in their state. Most content is also offered in HD. The channel's website,, also has a large amount of video on demand content for all 11 schools which is free to all internet users.


Carriage negotiations with several major cable companies were stalled for several months because the cable providers wanted to put the channel on a sports tier and charge only customers who wanted it, and Big Ten Network wanted to put it on extended basic so that cable customers would not have to pay extra for it. However, when the nation's largest cable provider Comcast reached a deal on June 19, 2008,[23] (and began adding the channel on August 15, 2008), the other major providers in the Big Ten Region (Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, etc.) followed suit. Big Ten is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.[24]

Carriage deal agreements[edit]


DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse were the only major television providers to carry the channel at launch.[25] Dish Network added it a week later.[26] 250 small cable systems carried it at launch as well.


In late summer and early autumn 2008, several large cable companies in The Big Ten Region reached carriage agreements with The Big Ten Network. With these announcements, The Big Ten Network now reaches every major cable TV provider in the Big Ten Region.

  • On August 25, 2008, it was announced in a joint statement that Time Warner Cable and The Big Ten Network reached a carriage deal. Time Warner now carries the channel on its expanded basic service in the eight states where Big Ten schools operate.[29][30]
  • On September 30, 2008, Broadstripe added the channel to its systems in Michigan.[34]


  • On June 23, 2009, Cablevision added the channel in both standard and high definition.[35]
  • On August 25, 2009, Atlantic Broadband and BTN reached a carriage agreement. The channel was added in standard definition and high definition on September 1, 2009 to customers in central and northern Pennsylvania.[36]
  • On December 28, 2009, Charter Communications and BTN reached an agreement to provide the network to Charter customers in St. Louis and Southern Illinois. Charter launched the BTN on its Expanded Basic-Digital level of service.[37]

Canadian carriage[edit]

In September 2008, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission officially approved a request by Shaw Communications to allow carriage of BTN in Canada on its specialty television services. While CTVglobemedia filed a concern that it would illegally compete with its mainstream sports channel TSN, the CRTC determined that BTN would not harm TSN because of its "very niche" scope.[38] BTN became available to Shaw customers on December 3, 2008. The channel became available on Rogers Cable in Ontario and New Brunswick on October 22, 2009.[39]

Similar channels[edit]

Other channels that show only college sports include:


  1. ^ "MediaPost Publications Fox Moves to Majority Position in Big Ten Network 08/30/2011". Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Chicago Business News, Analysis & Articles | Former Ward's building to house Big Ten Network | Crain's
  4. ^ "Big Ten Network Bowl Wrap-Up Show Debuts Thursday - Penn State Official Athletic Site". 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  5. ^ a b "Big Ten Network Kicks Off Third Season: Live football coverage begins Thursday night". CBS Interactive. 2009-09-01. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  6. ^ "ESPN's 'lowball' offer triggered Big Ten expansion". Chicago Tribune. July 1, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Pac-10 Isn't Planning to Launch a Network". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2 May 2009. 
  8. ^ Big Ten Announces Commitment to Event Equality for Men and Women on Big Ten Network :: National network pledges to equal number of men's and women's events by third year
  9. ^ "Blocked field goal secures Appalachian State's upset of Michigan". Associated Press. 2007-09-01. Archived from the original on 4 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  10. ^ "Forcier, Robinson delight in Michigan win - Big Ten Network". Archived from the original on 2009-09-26. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  11. ^ Nocera, Joe (August 27, 2008). "The Big Ten Wins ... Sort Of". Executive Suite (The New York Times). Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  12. ^ Goetzi, David. "Fox Moves to Majority Position in Big Ten Network". Mediapost. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  13. ^ Renyolds, Mike. "BTN2GO Kicks Off With Four Distributors". Multichannel News. 
  14. ^ Flint, Joe (August 27, 2012). "Big Ten Network and Dish at odds over new deal". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Big Ten Network, DISH unable to come to agreement". NBC Sports. September 15, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  16. ^ "BTN, DISH Network reach agreement". ESPN. September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  17. ^ Mark Silverman Named President of Big Ten Network :: Former Disney-ABC Executive to Lead
  18. ^ News - Big Ten Network
  19. ^ Borzi, Pat (October 1, 2013). "Big Ten Network Makes Investment in College Hockey". The New York Times. 
  20. ^ Big Ten Network Fact Sheet
  21. ^ BTN Online streaming events - FAQ's
  22. ^ [2][dead link]
  23. ^ Big Ten Network Press Release June 19, 2008
  24. ^ Member channels of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative
  25. ^ The Big Ten Conference Announces Media Agreements Increasing National Coverage of Big Ten Sports
  26. ^ DISH Network Adds Big Ten Network
  27. ^, Mediacom, BTN reach a deal.
  28. ^ Mediacom Communications to Launch Big Ten Network
  29. ^ Time Warner Cable to carry Big Ten Network on expanded basic this fall
  30. ^ Time Warner, Big Ten Network Strike Carriage Deal
  31. ^ Charter reaches deal with Big Ten Network
  32. ^ Brighthouse and Big Ten Network close to deal
  33. ^ Cox Cable finalizes Big Ten Network deal
  34. ^ Broadstripe Delivers Big Ten Network in Michigan
  35. ^ Optimum Cable - Sports Pack Information
  36. ^ Multichannel News August 25, 2009 Atlantic Broadband Catches Big Ten Network Deal - Pact Kicks Off In Time For Carrier's Keystone Customers To Watch Penn State Action
  37. ^ [3][dead link]
  38. ^ "Shaw gets okay to distribute Big Ten Network". Archived from the original on 12 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-26. [dead link]
  39. ^ Big Ten Network Press Release October 22, 2009 Big Ten Network Now Available on Rogers Cable

External links[edit]