Big Ten Network
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|Big Ten Network|
|Launched||August 30, 2007|
|Owned by||Fox Entertainment Group
(21st Century Fox) (51%)
Big Ten Conference (49%)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)
Downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTV feed
|Slogan||This is Big Ten Country, This is Where it Lives|
|Broadcast area||United States
|Sister channel(s)||Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
Fox Soccer Plus
Fox Sports Networks
Fox College Sports
|DirecTV (U.S.)||610 (HD/SD)
610-1, 610-2, 610-3 and 610-4 (HD/SD)
|Dish Network (U.S.)||410 (HD)
5441-5447 and 9500 (HD)
410 and 588-591 (SD)
|Shaw Direct (Canada)||265 (HD)
Consult your listings for channel placement
|Altice USA||247 (HD)|
|Available on most other U.S. and most Canadian cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability
(or visit btn
|AT&T U-verse||1650 (HD)
Overflow: 1691-1699 (HD)
|Verizon FiOS||585 (HD)
Overflow: 330-331 (SD)
|VMedia (Canada)||408 (HD)|
|PlayStation Vue||Core Package|
|BTN2Go (by subscription, outside of U.S. and Canada)||www
|PlayStation Vue||Internet Protocol television|
The Big Ten Network (BTN) is an American regional sports network owned as a joint venture between the Big Ten Conference (which owns 49% of the network) and the Fox Entertainment Group subsidiary of 21st Century Fox (which owns a controlling 51% interest), and operated by Fox Sports. It is the first internationally distributed network dedicated to covering a single collegiate athletic conference. Dedicated to sports and other programming from the Big Ten, the network's lineup includes telecasts of Big Ten events, archived events involving schools in the conference, studio shows, coach's shows, documentaries and other programming.
The network reaches approximately 90 million households nationwide, and is available up to an estimated 100 million pay television households in the United States and Canada. It is headquartered in the former Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalog House building at 600 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.
The network has agreements with more than 300 providers. 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, Cogeco Cable and EastLink. The network is available on cable in 19 of the 20 largest U.S. media markets. The Big Ten Network is also carried on PlayStation Vue.
- 1 History
- 2 Programming
- 3 On-air staff
- 4 Other services
- 5 Carriage
- 6 Similar channels
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The network's foundation traces back to 2004, following negotiations between the Big Ten and ESPN on an extension of the conference's broadcast contract with the network. With three years remaining in the 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.
The launch of the Big Ten Network was announced on June 21, 2006, as a 20-year joint project between the Big Ten Conference and Fox Entertainment Group. At launch, the conference owned 51% of the network, while Fox owned a minority interest and handled its operations. The network was positioned to be the first ever cable channel dedicated to a single collegiate conference. The network also has a commitment to "event equality", stating it would produce and distribute an equal number of men's and women's events across all platforms, within three years of its launch. 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 broadcast television station in a team's local market (for example, the Illinois Fighting Illini aired its games on Champaign, Illinois CBS affiliate WCIA (channel 3)).
Big Ten Network was launched at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on August 30, 2007, with Big Ten Tonight as its inaugural program. The network aired its first live telecasts two days later on September 1, which included a football game between Appalachian State and Michigan – the game gained national attention for its upset victory; being the first win by a Division I FCS team over a ranked Division I FBS team since Division I was split into two subdivisions by the NCAA in 1978. On September 2, the network aired its first women's sports event (a soccer match between Syracuse University and Michigan State) and its first men's non-revenue sports event (a soccer match between UCLA at Indiana).
The new network suffered from limited carriage on its launch, as it was only 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. While no specifics were revealed, Fox increased its stake in the Big Ten Network to 51% in June 2010, acquiring majority control, using a provision in its contract with the conference. 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.
BTN and Dish Network were involved in a dispute leading up to the expiration of the satellite provider's contract with the network in August 2012, a day before that year's college football season began. The network was temporary blacked out for eight days beginning on September 14, giving way to a new agreement that restored BTN on Dish Network on September 22.
- Big Ten Tonight – a weekly half-hour show airing on Sundays that is similar to ESPN's SportsCenter; it offers highlights and discussion of Big Ten sporting events. The program is currently anchored by Dave Revsine, Rick Pizzo, Mike Hall and Lisa Cornwell. Other reporters and analysts appear depending on the sport being discussed.
- Big Ten Football Saturday – a program airing Saturdays (with pre-game, halftime and post-game editions) during the college football season, which features discussions and highlights of the day's games. It is hosted by Dave Revsine, with analysis provided by Gerry DiNardo (nicknamed by the hosts as "Coach") and Howard Griffith.
- Big Ten Tailgate – originally titled Friday Night Tailgate, it is a Friday night program that takes a lighthearted and irreverent look at campus life surrounding the weekend of a Big Ten football game. It was host was Mike Hall, with correspondents Charissa Thompson and Chicago-area improv actors Jordan Klepper, Steve Waltien, and Tim Baltz. 90-minute In 2010, the show was cut to 60 minutes and was renamed as Big Ten Tailgate.
- Big Ten Tip-Off Show – a pre-game show airing during the regular season from November to March discussing the day's basketball games; it is hosted by Dave Revsine, with analysis provided by Gene Keady, Jimmy Jackson, Tim Doyle and Kendall Gill.
- Coaches Q&A – a program featuring excerpts from the week's press conferences around the conference.
- The Big Ten's Greatest Games – a showcase of classic football and basketball games, with editing of some non-essential game action out to fit time constraints.
- The Big Ten Women's Show – an hour-long Monday night program covering women's sports throughout the conference.
- The Big Ten Quad – a weekly sports discussion show with Big Ten legends.
- Big Ten Cookout – a half-hour live cooking/tailgate show on Saturday mornings, taking place at a different university campus within the conference each week; it is hosted by Melanie Collins, alongside chefs Julius Russell and former Hell's Kitchen season five contestant Ben Walanka.
- 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"; 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" – a hockey pregame show on Friday nights, airing before most Big Ten hockey game telecasts, featuring game previews and highlights from around the Big Ten Conference
- Big Ten Football: Breakdown – a weekly series airing on Tuesdays in which Big Ten coaches and players review the previous week's game footage, with network analysts providing a look at the nuances of the game and what affected the teams' success.
- Big Ten Football: Sites & Sounds – a Wednesday night program that 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.
- Big Ten Football: Behind the Schemes – airing Thursday nights, it is a breakdown featuring the network's resident head coach analysts, analyzing footage of the previous week's games and putting together game plans for games being held that week.
- Big Ten Football… & Beyond – a Friday night program previewing the weekend's upcoming games with reports from each Big Ten stadium and a look at key national matchups that could impact the conference postseason.
- Big Ten Film Vault – a program, hosted by Dan Dierdorf, showcasing a vintage Big Ten film from the 1940s to the 1970s.
- Big Ten Icons – a series highlighting a Big Ten athlete from a wide range of sports and history. Notable subjects include Jesse Owens, Jack Nicklaus and Steve Alford.
- The Journey: Big Ten Basketball – a Sunday night documentary-style series following multiple teams each week throughout the conference's 10-week basketball season.
- Big Ten Treasure Hunter - a program starring memorabilia collector John Arcand in which he travels around Big Ten territories and make negotiations with fans to buy Big Ten memorabilia.
- Big Ten Hoops: On Campus – an hour-long Friday night program (hosted by Mike Hall, Jim Jackson, Tiffany Simons and Natalie Kane) featuring visits to different campuses each week to showcase the loyalty and tradition behind Big Ten basketball and its fans.
- This Week in Big Ten Basketball – a Sunday night program providing comprehensive breakdowns of the week's college basketball action involving Big Ten teams; it was hosted by Dave Revsine, Jim Jackson and Dan Dakich.
Big Ten Network holds national broadcast rights to all of the conference's home football games and televises approximately 35-40 football games each season. Each team is guaranteed to appear a minimum of two times annually on the network, one of which must be a conference game.
The network holds national television rights to all men's basketball conference home games; all non-conference and exhibition games are either televised or streamed on bigtennetwork.com. Each of the conference's men's basketball teams appear on the network approximately 10-20 times a season; it carries approximately 60-65 in-conference match-ups, as well as select tournament contests.
Big Ten Network also televises approximately 50-60 regular season women's basketball games annually, along with approximately nine Big Ten Basketball Tournament games. Each Big Ten team appears on the network approximately 8 to 10 times during the season. The network streams dozens of games live on its website, giving Big Ten women’s basketball the most exposure of any conference in the country. The network maintains a set on-site during the Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments in Indianapolis, Indiana with anchors providing coverage and analysis of each day's game action during the event.
Big Ten Network televises approximately 25 of the conference's baseball games each spring, with each team making approximately 5 to 8 appearances annually. In 2009, the network televised the entirety of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament.
In the 2013-14 season, Big Ten Network expanded its coverage of college ice hockey due to the Big Ten Conference beginning to officially sponsor the sport, broadcasting 27 games as well as the Big Ten tournament, and adding associated studio programs. The Big Ten Network televises more than 170 NCAA-sponsored Olympic events in both men's and women's sports such as hockey, soccer, volleyball, track and field, swimming and diving.
In April 2016, it was announced that BTN and Riot Games would organize a collegiate League of Legends event, the BTN Invitational—between teams representing Michigan State and Ohio State. The event was held at PAX East in Boston, alongside the semi-finals and finals of Riot's own college championship. Michael Sherman, head of Riot's collegiate competitions, stated that "there was actually a student group at Penn State that was looking to run a Big Ten Tournament, and the Big Ten Network got word of it and through that we actually connected to each other and saw that we had a lot of interest in sort of building an event together."
In January 2017, BTN and Riot announced that it would hold a season of conference competition between teams representing 10 Big Ten schools, culminating with a championship whose winner will be invited to Riot's college championship. The competition will primarily be streamed online, but later rounds will also be televised on BTN.
Tournament and championship events
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 and field and men's wrestling.
In February 2017, the NCAA announced that Big Ten Network had acquired rights to the Women's Frozen Four—the NCAA national championship of Women's ice hockey, beginning in 2017 under a four-year deal. BTN will broadcast the finals beginning in 2017, and the semi-finals beginning 2018.
Current on-air staff
- Eric Collins - play-by-play announcer
- Mike Crispino - play-by-play announcer
- Mike Hall - studio host and baseball sideline reporter
- Tom Hamilton - play-by-play announcer
- Dan Kelly - play-by-play announcer
- Dara McIntosh - studio host*
- Rick Pizzo - studio host and baseball sideline reporter
- Dave Revsine - studio host and play-by-play announcer
- Matt Rosen - play-by-play announcer
- Brent Stover - studio host
- Ari Wolfe - play-by-play announcer
- Tony Banks - football analyst
- Rosevelt Colvin - football analyst
- Gerry DiNardo - football analyst
- Howard Griffith - football analyst
- Anthony Herron - football analyst
- Danan Hughes - football analyst
- Jon Jansen - football analyst
- Chuck Long - football analyst
- Chris Martin - football analyst
- Glen Mason - football analyst
- Muhsin Muhammad - football analyst
- Derek Rackley - football analyst
- Antwaan Randle El - football analyst
- Tom Waddle - football analyst
- Brandon Williams - football analyst
- Sue Ann Robak - football sideline reporter
- Dan Dakich - men's basketball analyst
- Gregory Kelser - men's basketball analyst
- Kendall Gill - men's basketball analyst
- Bill Hosket, Jr. - men's basketball analyst
- Jimmy Jackson - men's basketball analyst
- Gene Keady - men's basketball analyst
- Jimmy King - men's basketball analyst
- John Laskowski - men's basketball analyst
- Scoonie Penn - men's basketball analyst
- Steve Smith - men's basketball analyst
- Brenda VanLengen - women's basketball analyst
- Sam Vincent - men's basketball analyst
- Gary Williams - men's basketball analyst
- Sue Ann Robak - basketball sideline reporter
- Anson Carter - ice hockey analyst
- Ben Clymer - ice hockey analyst
- Chris Chelios - ice hockey analyst
- Darren Eliot - ice hockey analyst
- Billy Jaffe - ice hockey analyst
- Fred Pletsch - ice hockey analyst
- Aaron Ward - ice hockey analyst
- Ken Chertow - wrestling announcer
- Dan Gable - wrestling announcer
- Jake Herbert - wrestling announcer
Former on-air staff
- Brian Anderson - play-by-play announcer (now Milwaukee Brewers announcer for Fox Sports Wisconsin, basketball and baseball announcer for TBS)
- Thom Brennaman - lead play-by-play announcer (now lead television voice for the Cincinnati Reds on Fox Sports Ohio, announcer for MLB on Fox and NFL on Fox)
- Matt Devlin - play-by-play announcer (now television play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Raptors)
- Rebecca Haarlow - sideline reporter for football and baseball (now with MSG Network)
- Ben Holden - play-by-play announcer (now college hockey announcer for Fox Sports Detroit and Comcast Local and CBS Sports Network)
- Gus Johnson - play-by-play announcer (longtime NFL and NCAA basketball voice for CBS Sports, now NFL and Pac-12 announcer for Fox Sports)
- Kevin Kugler - play-by-play announcer (now preseason play-by-play announcer for the Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Wayne Larrivee - play-by-play announcer (longtime Big Ten play-by-play announcer; now does play-by-play for the Packers Radio Network)
- Charissa Thompson - sideline reporter (now with Fox Sports and co-host of entertainment news magazine Extra)
- Stephanie White - women's basketball analyst (now women's basketball coach at Vanderbilt)
- Rod Woodson (now an analyst for the NFL on Westwood One)
The 720p high definition simulcast of Big Ten Network launched with the channel's standard definition feed. In the United States, it is available nationally on satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network; and regionally on cable providers such as Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Mediacom. 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 broadcast in HD, as well as nearly all of its sports telecasts and some of its university-produced coaches and campus shows. The channel has produced all of its football games in HD since 2009. In 2011, the network's standard definition feed was converted to a letterboxed format, in line with the conversion to widescreen presentation of programming across Fox's networks.
Big Ten Network On Demand
Big Ten Network On Demand is the network's video on demand service which offers the network's original programming (such as Big Ten Tonight, The Journey, "Big Ten Treasure Hunter",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. Content from all 14 schools is available on DirecTV and Dish Network, while cable providers only receive content from the school(s) within their state. Most of the content featured on the service is also offered in HD. The channel's website, www.BigTenNetwork.com, also maintains a large amount of video on demand content for all 14 schools which is available for free streaming.
During the 2009-10 season, Big Ten Network began charging $2.99 per event for its online feeds due to the network's significant financial investment in newer streaming technologies.
Football overflow feeds
On many Saturdays during the football season, 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 providers. The remaining games air on the main channel in the local markets and on the extra overflow channels in the remaining markets. Most cable systems inside the Big Ten's eight states offer these Big Ten Network overflow or "out-of-market" feeds to provide additional football games. All of the additional overflow feeds for the network's various football telecasts are available nationally on DirecTV and Dish Network; and regionally on AT&T U-verse, many Comcast systems, and several other cable providers. 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.
Carriage negotiations with several major cable providers were stalled for several months due to their interest in placing the channel on a sports tier, with the providers only wanting to charge customers who wanted to subscribe to it; Big Ten Network, however, wanted to providers to carry it on their extended basic tiers so that subscribers would not have to pay an extra fee to receive the network. Comcast, the largest cable provider in the U.S., reached a deal to carry the network on June 19, 2008, and began adding the channel to its systems on August 15, 2008; other major providers in states with universities in the Big Ten Conference (including Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable) would soon follow suit. Additionally, the Big Ten Network is an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.
DirecTV and AT&T U-verse were the only major television providers to carry the channel at launch; however, 250 smaller cable systems (including those that are members of the National Cable Television Cooperative) also carried BTN at launch. Dish Network added the channel one week later in early September 2007.
During the late summer and early fall of 2008, several larger cable companies within states where a Big Ten university was located reached agreements to carry Big Ten Network, expanding its carriage to every major cable provider in those areas. On August 23, 2008, Mediacom (which services most of Iowa, including Iowa City, where Big Ten member, the University of Iowa, is located) was reported by Cedar Rapids newspaper The Gazette to have reached an agreement in principle to carry the network according to sources close to negotiations; the deal was announced on August 28.
On August 25, Time Warner Cable and the Big Ten Network announced in a joint statement that the two parties had reached a carriage deal. Time Warner Cable carries the channel on its expanded basic service in the eight states where Big Ten universities are located. These deals were later followed by carriage agreements with Charter Communications on August 26 and Cox Communications on August 28. Also on August 26, 2008, The Indianapolis Star reported that Bright House Networks was "very close to a deal" to carry the channel. On September 30, Broadstripe added the channel to its systems in Michigan.
On June 23, 2009, Cablevision added the channel in standard and high definition to its Optimum systems. The following month on August 25, the network reached a carriage agreement with Atlantic Broadband, which added the network's standard and high definition feed on September 1, 2009 to its systems in central and northern Pennsylvania. On December 28, 2009, Charter Communications reached an agreement to provide the network to its systems in St. Louis and Southern Illinois on the provider's expanded basic-digital tier.
In September 2008, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approved a request by Shaw Communications to allow carriage of BTN in Canada on its specialty television services. While CTVglobemedia filed a concern it would illegally compete with its mainstream sports channel TSN, the CRTC determined the Big Ten Network would not harm TSN because it had a niche scope in its programming. The network became available to Shaw Cable customers on December 3, 2008. The channel became available on Rogers Cable systems in Ontario and New Brunswick on October 22, 2009.
Other channels that show only college sports include:
- Pac-12 Network – an American sports television network focusing on the Pac-12 Conference
- SEC Network – an American sports network focusing on the Southeastern Conference
- Longhorn Network – an American network that focuses on sports and programming involving the University of Texas at Austin
- BYUtvsports.com – an American network that carries sports and programming involving Brigham Young University
- Fox College Sports
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- Big Ten Network Fact Sheet
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- News - Big Ten Network
- BTN Online streaming events - FAQ's
- Big Ten Network Press Release June 19, 2008
- Member channels of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative Archived August 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- The Big Ten Conference Announces Media Agreements Increasing National Coverage of Big Ten Sports
- DISH Network Adds Big Ten Network
- GazetteOnline.com, Mediacom, BTN reach a deal.
- Mediacom Communications to Launch Big Ten Network
- Time Warner Cable to carry Big Ten Network on expanded basic this fall
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- Charter reaches deal with Big Ten Network
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- Optimum Cable - Sports Pack Information
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- Big Ten Network Press Release October 22, 2009 Big Ten Network Now Available on Rogers Cable