Aug. 30, 2007
Chicago, Ill. - The much-anticipated launch of the Big Ten Network is here, with the network going on the air at 8 p.m. ET with a special edition of Big Ten Tonight.
"We're tremendously excited to make television history with the launch of the Big Ten Network on Thursday night," Network President Mark Silverman said. "Fans will enjoy more Big Ten programming than ever before. I think fans will look back years from now and wonder how they ever followed their teams without the Big Ten Network."
The network's launch comes a little more than a year after Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany announced its creation in June 2006.
Delany wanted to create a network that would extend the coverage the conference realized through its agreements with ABC/ESPN and CBS, while increasing coverage for women's sports and other NCAA championship events.
The Big Ten Network will also dramatically increase the number of games available to fans on their existing cable packages. Fewer Big Ten games will appear platforms such as ESPNU and ESPN360 than in recent years.
With the launch of the Big Ten Network, every home football and men's basketball game is guaranteed to be televised by one of the conference's television partners. The Big Ten Network will televise 39 football games this fall and 140 men's basketball games this season. Both of those numbers represent the most of any network.
The Big Ten Network will also televise more live events in high definition than any other new network in television history.
The network officially launches with a special football season preview edition of Big Ten Tonight. Lead studio host Dave Revsine and analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith will break down the conference title race and forecast the 2007-08 season. Earlier this month, Revsine, DiNardo and Griffith visited all 11 preseason camp to gauge each team's prospects. Big Ten ties run deep for all three. Revsine is a Northwestern graduate and Chicago native, DiNardo coached for three seasons at Indiana and Griffith starred at running back for Illinois before earning two Super Bowl rings with the Denver Broncos.
The series premiere of The Big Ten's Greatest Games follows at 9 p.m. ET with the 2006 Ohio State-Michigan epic. Fourteen of the contest's key participants and observers were interviewed for this episode including Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.
Last year's memorable showdown between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan was termed the "Game of the Century." An Ohio Stadium record crowd of 105,708 saw the first-ever No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-up in this storied rivalry. The game was played a day after legendary former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler passed away and the teams couldn't have honored his memory with a better game. Ohio State quarterback and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith threw for a career-high four touchdowns and a season-high 316 yards to propel the Buckeyes to a 42-39 win. The victory sealed a Big Ten championship for Ohio State and a berth in the BCS Championship Game.
After the debut of The Big Ten's Greatest Games, Revsine hosts Big Ten Tonight, the network's signature nightly studio show with highlights, analysis and features. The program will not only cover football and basketball, but also many NCAA-sponsored sports including hockey, baseball, volleyball, softball and many more.
The excitement of the football season's opening weekend continues the night before the games with Friday Night Tailgate at 8 p.m. ET. The show will capture that excitement while letting viewers experience the passion and fervor on Big Ten campuses come alive as players, students, fans and faculty get ready for the big game. Host Mike Hall and a team of campus correspondents will provide an unparalleled look at the next day's games, as well as the excitement and anticipation that surround Friday nights.
Big Ten Football Saturday kicks off at 11 a.m. ET with a one-hour pre-game show. Revsine, DiNardo and Griffith provide up-to-the-minute updates on developments that could affect the day's games.
At noon ET, the network will carry four games simultaneously, including Youngstown State at Ohio State (DIRECTV Channel 218), Northeastern at Northwestern (DIRECTV Channel 219), Appalachian State at Michigan (DIRECTV Channel 220, the Big Ten Network's main channel) and Florida International at Penn State (DIRECTV Channel 221). The games will be regionalized to cater to each specific market. Cable subscribers should check their local listings.
The primetime games include a pair of 8 p.m. ET kickoffs. Indiana hosts in-state rival Indiana State (DIRECTV Channel 218) while Minnesota hosts Bowling Green (DIRECTV Channel 220).
About the Big Ten Network: The Big Ten Network is dedicated to covering the Big Ten Conference and its 11 member institutions. The Big Ten Network will provide unprecedented access to an extensive schedule of conference sports events and shows; original programs in academics, the arts and sciences; campus activities; and associated personalities. Sports programming will include live coverage of more major men's and women's events than ever before, along with news, highlights and analysis, all complemented by hours of university-produced campus programming. The network is available to all cable and satellite carriers and television distributors nationwide, with most programs offered in stunning high-definition television (HDTV). The Big Ten Network is a joint venture between subsidiaries of the Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks. For more information regarding the Big Ten Network, visit BigTenNetwork.com