The Big Ten Network (BTN) is an American sports network based in Chicago, Illinois. The channel is dedicated to coverage of collegiate sports sanctioned by the Big Ten Conference, including live and recorded event telecasts, news, analysis programs, and other content focusing on the conference's member schools. It is a joint venture between Fox Sports and the Big Ten, with Fox Corporation as 51% stakeholder and operating partner, and the Big Ten Conference owning a 49% stake. It is headquartered in the former Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalog House building at 600 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago.
Big Ten Network is carried by most major television providers and as of 2014, had an estimated 60 million U.S. subscribers—a number had been boosted by the addition of Rutgers University and the University of Maryland to the conference.
Big Ten Network was the second U.S. sports network to be devoted to a single college sports conference, having been preceded by the MountainWest Sports Network one year prior to its launch. BTN was later followed by Pac-12 and SEC cable channels with a similar array of programming.
|Big Ten Network|
|Launched||August 30, 2007|
|Owned by||Fox Sports Media Group|
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 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
|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, Fox Sports Go (requires login from eligible pay television provider to access content)||www|
|PlayStation Vue||Internet Protocol television|
|YouTube TV||Internet Protocol television|
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 logo and branding (which incorporates the "BTN" acronym), and 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.
On December 14, 2017, 21st Century Fox announced it would sell a majority of its assets to The Walt Disney Company, owners of ESPN, SEC Network and the upcoming ACC Network, in a transaction valued at over $52 billion. 21st Century Fox's stake in the Big Ten Network was not included in the deal and was spun off to the significantly downsized Fox Corporation, along with the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and Fox Sports 1 and 2. The deal was approved by Disney and Fox shareholders on July 27, 2018 and was completed on March 19, 2019.
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 12 Big Ten schools, culminating with a championship whose winner would receive an invite to Riot's college championship. The competition was primarily be streamed online, but later rounds were televised on BTN. In January 2018, Riot and BTN announced an extension of the partnership through 2019, complete with scholarship funds for teams ($35,000/team yearly) and the addition of Penn State and Nebraska, bringing all full conference members to the partnership. ESL became a partner with BTN's competition for 2019.
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 broadcast the finals in 2017, and began airing the semi-finals beginning 2018.
Big Ten Network launched in both standard definition and a 720p high definition simulcast. 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.
BTN2Go is Big Ten Network's TV Everywhere service, which offers online streaming of BTN programming to subscribers on qualifying television providers. Beginning in the 2017-18 season, BTN2Go content is also available within Fox Sports' TV Everywhere service Fox Sports Go.
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 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.
On April 11, 2018, Comcast dropped Big Ten Network in a number of "out-of-market" states that fall outside of the conference's direct geographical footprint, with other selected markets dropping the network on May 10, 2018. This notably includes New York, despite the recent addition of Rutgers University in New Jersey having been used to market the conference and BTN in neighboring New York City.
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 that it would create undue competition (which is prohibited between foreign and domestic services) with its mainstream sports channel TSN, the CRTC determined that Big Ten Network's specific scope in sports programming would not cause it to compete directly with domestic mainstream sports services such as TSN. 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:
The 2009 Big Ten Conference football season was the 114th for the conference, and saw Ohio State conclude the regular season as Big Ten Conference champion for the 5th consecutive time, their 34th Big Ten title. This earned them the conference's automatic selection to a Bowl Championship Series game in which it emerged victorious in the January 1, 2010 Rose Bowl against Oregon Ducks. Co-runner-up, Iowa, earned the conference's at-large BCS invitation to the January 5, 2010 Orange Bowl. The season started on Thursday, September 3, as conference member Indiana hosted Eastern Kentucky. The conference’s other 10 teams began their respective 2009 season of NCAA Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) competition two days later. All teams started their season at home except Illinois who started their season on neutral turf for the third consecutive season against Missouri and Minnesota who traveled to Syracuse.Although several players had post season All-star games remaining, the season concluded for Big Ten teams with the 2010 Orange Bowl in which Iowa defeated Georgia Tech. This was the seventh bowl game for the conference which compiled a 4–3 record. Over the course of 77 home games, the conference set a new attendance record. During the season, Minnesota opened a new athletic stadium, TCF Bank Stadium, and Purdue welcomed a new head coach, Danny Hope.
The season saw John Clay selected as offensive player of the year by both the coaches and the media. Jared Odrick and Greg Jones won defensive player of the year awards from the coaches and media, respectively. Chicago Tribune Silver Football recipients as the Big Ten co-MVPs were Daryll Clark and Brandon Graham. Jones was the conferences only consensus 2009 College Football All-America Team representative. The Big Ten Conference enjoyed two national statistical championships. Graham led the nation in tackles for a loss (TFL). Ray Fisher earned the national statistical championship in kickoff return average and established a new Big Ten single-season record with his performance. The Big Ten led the nation with six first team Academic All-Americans. After the season, 34 athletes were selected in the 2010 NFL Draft including three in the first round and six each by Iowa and Penn State.2013 Big Ten Conference Baseball Tournament
The 2013 Big Ten Conference Baseball Tournament was held at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN from May 22 through 25. The six team, double-elimination tournament determined the league champion for the 2013 NCAA Division I baseball season. Indiana won the tournament to claim the Big Ten Conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. The event was aired on the Big Ten Network.2016 Big Ten Conference Baseball Tournament
The 2016 Big Ten Conference Baseball Tournament was held at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska from May 25 through 29. Ohio State claimed the Big Ten Conference's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. The event aired on the Big Ten Network.2017 NCAA National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Tournament
The 2017 NCAA National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Tournament involved eight schools in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of women's NCAA Division I college ice hockey. The quarterfinals were contested at the campuses of the seeded teams on March 11, 2017. The Frozen Four was played on March 17 and 19, 2017 at Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri with Lindenwood University as the host. An agreement with the Big Ten Network resulted in the championship game being televised live for the first time since 2010.The tournament was won by Clarkson with a 3–0 win over Wisconsin, giving the Golden Knights their second title in program history.2019 Big Ten Conference Baseball Tournament
The 2019 Big Ten Conference Baseball Tournament will be held at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska from May 22 through 26. The event will air on the Big Ten Network.Andy Katz
Andrew D. Katz (born April 7, 1968) is a college basketball analyst for the Big Ten Network and a college basketball correspondent for the NCAA. He formerly worked as a senior college basketball journalist for ESPN.com , and was a regular sports analyst on College GameNight on ESPN. Katz earned a B.A. at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1990), and began working for ESPN in 2000.Charissa Thompson
Charissa Jean Thompson (born May 4, 1982) is an American television host and sportscaster working for Fox Sports. Previously, Thompson worked for ESPN, Versus, as well as for GSN and the Big Ten Network. She was the co-host of SportsNation along with Marcellus Wiley until her departure from ESPN for Fox Sports in June 2013. She became the host of Fox Sports Live on the new Fox Sports 1 network when it debuted on August 17, 2013 (the first day of Fox Sports 1). She also was one of the American hosts of Ultimate Beastmaster. From 2014 to 2017, Thompson was a co-host on the syndicated entertainment news show Extra.Dave Revsine
Dave Revsine (born July 20, 1969 in Urbana, Illinois), is an American sportscaster, and sports columnist and journalist who currently serves as the lead studio host for the Big Ten Network. Previously, he was a journalist at ESPN anchoring on SportsCenter and ESPNEWS, along with play-by-play on select college basketball games.Fox Sports Detroit
Fox Sports Detroit is an American regional sports network owned by The Walt Disney Company that operates as a Fox Sports Networks affiliate. It provides coverage of local sports teams in the state of Michigan, primarily focusing on those in Metro Detroit. The network airs exclusive broadcasts of games involving the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings and repeats of Detroit Lions preseason games, as well as some state college and high school sports.Fox Sports Detroit is available on cable television throughout Michigan, as well as in northeastern Indiana, northwest Ohio and some portions of northeastern Wisconsin and nationwide on satellite via DirecTV and Dish Network. The network's production facilities and offices are based in Southfield, Michigan, with master control operations based at the headquarters of Fox Sports Networks in Houston, Texas. The network also maintains dedicated remote sets in the concourses of Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena.Greg Amsinger
Greg Amsinger (born May 24, 1979 in St. Louis, Missouri) is an American sportscaster and currently a studio host for MLB Network.Kevin Kugler
Kevin Kugler is an American sportscaster who primarily works in radio broadcasting. Kugler is currently employed by Westwood One as its lead college basketball voice as well as one of its Sunday NFL voices, and by the Big Ten Network as a play-by-play man for college football and college basketball. Kugler is based out of Omaha, Nebraska, where he hosted a daily sports talk show on KOZN until 2012 when he left to focus on his other duties. He won the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year award nine times.Lisa Byington
Lisa Byington is a broadcaster of many sports in many roles. Primarily, she has worked as a college football sideline reporter for the Big Ten Network, as well as a play-by-play announcer, studio host, and feature producer/reporter. She has also broadcast games for FS1, FS2, Pac-12 Network, ESPN, SEC Network, CBS Sports Network and the Chicago Sky on WCIU-DT 26.2. She was a two-sport athlete at Northwestern University, playing four years of basketball and two years of soccer. Both teams made the NCAA Tournament.Mark Neely
Mark Neely is an American sportscaster. He currently serves as a play-by-play announcer for ESPN College Football, College Basketball on ESPN and NBA on ESPN and was previously a television announcer for San Diego Padres baseball.Rebecca Haarlow
Rebecca Haarlow (born December 20, 1978) is an American sideline reporter for MSG Network, NBA TV, the NBA on TNT, and the Big Ten Network. Previously she served as a sideline reporter for Fox Sports Net, and as an anchor and reporter for the NFL Network.Robert Smith (running back)
Robert Scott Smith (born March 4, 1972) is a college football analyst for Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network. He was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, and played collegiately at Ohio State University.Roger Twibell
Roger Twibell is an American sportscaster for the CBS Sports Network. Twibell most often commentates on football and basketball events. Prior to working at CBS Sports, he worked at ABC, ESPN, and the Big Ten Network. He also works on pre-season games for the Kansas City Chiefs.Rosevelt Colvin
Rosevelt Colvin, III (born September 5, 1977) is a former American football linebacker, who now works as a football analyst for the Big Ten Network. Drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft, he played college football at Purdue.
Colvin played for the Chicago Bears between 1999 and 2002. Colvin has earned two Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots, and has also been a member of the Houston Texans.Tom Hamilton (sportscaster)
Tom Hamilton (born August 19, 1954) is an American sportscaster, primarily known as the chief radio play-by-play announcer for the Cleveland Indians Major League Baseball team. During the baseball offseason, Hamilton also calls college basketball games for the Big Ten Network.
Hamilton joined the Indians Radio Network for the 1990 season, after spending three years in the booth for the then AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees, the Columbus Clippers. He was paired with Indians legend Herb Score until 1997, when Score retired after 30 seasons. Hamilton became chief play by play announcer in the 1998 season, a position he still holds today. Because of his longevity and popularity, he is now considered to be the "voice of the Tribe".
In the offseason, Hamilton calls college basketball games (usually Ohio State games) for the Big Ten Network. Prior to the founding of the Big Ten Network, he served in the same capacity for ESPN Plus.Wayne Larrivee
Wayne Larrivee is an American sportscaster. Larrivee is currently the radio play-by-play voice of the Green Bay Packers on the Packers Radio Network alongside color commentator Larry McCarren and calls college football and basketball for the Big Ten Network on television. Despite his current job with the Packers, Larrivee has long been associated with Chicago sports, having spent time as the voice of the Chicago Cubs, over a decade as the voice of the Chicago Bears and nearly twenty years as the television voice of the Chicago Bulls.
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