The Big Ten Conference is getting into the network television business. Commissioner Jim Delaney announced the league is creating the Big Ten Channel which will focus primarily on the non-revue sports. The Fox Cable Network will be the majority owner and operator of the network that Delaney calls “the destination for all things Big Ten.”
Delaney says the new channel will nearly double the amount of conference sporting events that are televised. He says the amount of football and basketball will stay fairly stable as they’ve already been televising most games. Delaney says most of the growth will occur in the Olympic sports, women’s basketball.
The Big Ten also signed a new ten year deal with ABC and ESPN to carry football and men’s basketball games and Delaney says the new deal will add to the number of games that are televised nationally. Delaney says there’ll be substantial growth in the number of basketball games on ESPN and some growth in football broadcasts.
Besides the exposure the new television package will provide a financial windfall for the 11 schools in the conference. Iowa will receive an additional 7.5 million dollars from the Big Ten in the first year of the deal.
Athletic director Bob Bowlsby says it will help slow the escalation of ticket prices, as Bowlsby says they have concerns about broadbased access to the programs. He says the new network will be marketed nationwide, and Bowlsby says it will extend the reach of the conference.
Bowlsby says while the Big Ten is the first conference to start its own network, it won’t be the last. Bowlsby says the other major conferences like the A-C-C, Big 12 are having the same conversations, the Big 10 just happens to be a little ahead.