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Big Ten Channel Coming in 2007


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Big Ten official Release

PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- The Big Ten Conference has reached two milestone media agreements that will provide the organization with its greatest media exposure ever and ensures long-term vitality for its member institutions' broad-based athletic programs, it was announced today by Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. The conference has signed a new 10-year national rights contract with ABC/ESPN and has reached a landmark deal with Fox Cable Networks to create the Big Ten Channel, a national network devoted to Big Ten athletic and academic programs. The ABC/ESPN contract takes effect, and the Big Ten Channel is expected to launch, in August 2007.
The Big Ten Channel is dedicated to covering both the athletic and academic content of the Big Ten member institutions on a national level. Showcasing a wide array of sports as well as original programming produced by the conference's 11 institutions, the Big Ten Channel will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It will be available to all carriers and distributors nationwide. The Big Ten Channel's first affiliate, DIRECTV, will deliver the Channel to its Total Choice Package subscribers at launch. Many events will be produced in High-Definition television (HDTV). In addition to traditional distribution through cable and satellite, select Big Ten Channel content will also be available through alternative media platforms such as the Internet, iPods, cell phones and/or other emerging technologies.

"Fox has a proven and impressive track record of launching and managing networks," Delany said. "That coupled with our compelling athletic competition will make this channel the go-to destination for our alumni and fans across the nation."

"The Big Ten is clearly one of the most successful collegiate athletic conferences in the country, and its member institutions are among the most prestigious universities in the world," said Tony Vinciquerra, President & CEO, Fox Networks Group. "Given a loyal and passionate fan base that's powered by millions of alumni across  America, it makes sense that the Big Ten is the first conference to take this step nationally, and we're excited to be a part of it."

The Big Ten Channel will carry many of the games and events previously available only through syndication, providing greater exposure for these and other Big Ten sports. The sports programming on the Big Ten Channel and/or through alternative Big Ten Channel platforms will include, but is not limited to:

          35-plus football games, with each school having at least two games aired (at least one of which will be a conference game);

          At least 105 regular-season men's basketball games;

          At least 55 regular-season women's basketball games;

          Big Ten championships and tournaments;

          170 Olympic sporting events; and,

          Coverage from the conference's vast library of historic sporting events, including bowl games.

In addition, each school will have the right to provide 60 hours of its own content annually. "We anticipate this will create enormous opportunities for journalism, film and other academic programs and provide the ability to highlight academic achievement throughout the universities," Delany said. " How schools utilize this exciting new opportunity is limited only by their own creativity."

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I am not sure who else might be able to do this but the SEC, and possibly Big 12 or Big East for hoops only. The ACC seems way too regional. The Big Ten has a much larger alumni base nationally. We already have ESPNU and CSTV, and if each mega conference possesses a channel, then the law of dimishing returns will surely occur. Plus, these channels probably will not be in your basic cable package, but on the premium or digital tier, like the NFL Network is for most viewers. Save your pennies for DirectTV. I think it will move from Total Choice after short period of time. Actually, I am surprised that some game will be in HD.

Now, if I were an aspiring announcer, you may have to start brushing up on your field hockey rules, since jobs might be available. Do you really want to see "academic content"?

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does this mean their will be no more ESPN Plus games being shown on TV for big ten markets? I hope not as I love getting to see the more obscure big ten games every week and not just the big prime time national games.

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there will be ESPN Plus games for the Big Ten Market, but I bet it will show more MAC Games now that there is a Big Ten Channel. Personally I think the Pacific 10, Big East, Big XII and SEC will have their own channels by 2010 I can almost sense it.

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The Mountain West Conference has a TV deal like this one.

Here is the link.

MWC TV

As a fan of women's college volleyball I like that the Mountain West and Big 10 are starting TV channels to show more volleyball and the other Olympic sports.

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I like the idea. This might show young kids that don't play the major college sports that there are still opportunities to do something with that talent.

For most sports I would rather watch college than pros.

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there will be ESPN Plus games for the Big Ten Market, but I bet it will show more MAC Games now that there is a Big Ten Channel.  Personally I think the Pacific 10, Big East, Big XII and SEC will have their own channels by 2010 I can almost sense it.

Well funny that you mentioned this but according to a blurb that i saw "the Tennessean" the SEC "may form it own network by 2010

http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art...2/APS/606220909

Slive: Conference exploring possible "SEC Channel"

The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive says the league is interested in forming its own television network, an "SEC Channel" similar to the one the Big Ten has planned.

"There is an ego element to having your name on a channel," Slive said.

The commissioner said the conference is looking into establishing a channel when the league's television contracts expire in 2009.

"I think you're going to find the concept of the channel has been on the drawing board for most of the conferences," Slive told The Birmingham News in a story Thursday. "The question is really one of timing, when your own contract comes to terms so you can find out the market place."

The Big Ten announced Wednesday it is launching The Big Ten Channel in 2007, a venture that will coincide with a new 10-year deal with ABC Sports and ESPN, which will broadcast top games such as Michigan-Ohio State in football. The league channel will show less-prominent games in football and basketball and non-revenue sports.

As the SEC enters TV negotiations with CBS, ESPN and Lincoln Financial Sports, it will explore the league channel option, Slive said.

"It has to be part of the overall discussion of television so you're dealing with all your inventory," Slive said. "We haven't decided to do it. You need to evaluate all those relationships and whether or not in that mix it makes sense to add an SEC Channel."

The Big Ten is the second conference to launch a network. The Mountain West stars one this fall on CSTV.

The Big Ten Channel will be available to satellite and cable distributors, allowing games to be watched via the Internet, iPods and cell phones.

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Wow we getting a little too specailized now I think ESPN U and CSTV shoudl be enough

In a day and age where channel capacity on cable systems (thanks to expanding bandwith) can accomodate this amount of specialization, conferences starting their own cable channels seems to be the next logical step.

The more sports channels, the better. Maybe it becomes the sort of thing where the channel is on a basic tier in the conference's main geographic area, and can be put on some sort of premium sports tier for people living outside of those confines.

If more conferences decide to go the route of creating their own channels, it may even reduce the amount of programming available to ESPU and CSTV, or reduce those channels to offering replays and/or lower divisions of competition. Whatever the case, let the market dictate.

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One item that the conference must be banking on must be the establishment of cable service "a la carte", as opposed to the packages which are currently offered. Congress is looking at allowing it (or at least Sen. John McCain proposed a bill), but of course, the telecom companies are resisting.

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