PDA

View Full Version : Big Ten forms own TV channel


jspchief
06-22-2006, 11:44 AM
Big Ten forms own TV channel

In 2007-08, IU, Purdue won’t be on local stations

By Michael Rothstein

The Journal Gazette

Never heard of Penn State outside hitter Nicole Fawcett? Soon, you will.

She was the Big Ten and national freshman of the year in women’s volleyball. She’s 6-foot-4, blonde-haired, loves “Grey’s Anatomy,” is from Zanesfield, Ohio and coming to a TV screen near you.

The demand for college sports keeps increasing and Wednesday, the Big Ten Conference took an interesting first step toward the potential future of college sports, announcing it would form – along with Fox Cable Networks – a Big Ten Channel, which will carry all Big Ten sports, all the time, ranging from previously untelevised football games to sports like tennis, swimming and gymnastics.

The channel, which will be available to TV companies beginning in August 2007, will be based in Chicago and essentially becomes a giant, constant promotion for the Midwestern conference.

Want to watch a field hockey game? Never heard of field hockey? Now, the Big Ten channel can introduce you to the sport.

So athletes win. Institutions win. Coaches of non-revenue sports win. The only ones who lose are those who broadcast games that were not on a network but produced by ESPN-Plus and then televised on channels like WPTA-TV, the local ABC affiliate which would televise such games. The Big Ten said it would not renew those types of local contracts.

So while local broadcasters are hurt, the conference is helped by more national exposure.

“It means I won’t see them,” said 61-year-old Jeff Olsen, a New Haven resident and Purdue fan. “I don’t like that idea. I’ve got cable but I don’t have any of the sports channels.”

Olsen, though, admitted he is in the vast minority when it comes to sports fans who follow teams.

Most have ESPN and some go even further with sports packages. So while Olsen won’t be watching, the other major conferences will.

“We live in a world of imitators,” Big East Associate Commissioner Nick Carparelli Jr. said. “If something works, we copy it. I’m sure all the conferences will keep a close eye on it.”

The Big Ten, which has a 20-year deal as the majority owner of the channel, already signed up DirectTV to broadcast the channel on its basic package. The main point, though, is this:

Exposure. Exposure. Exposure.

“This arrangement provides a considerable upgrade in visibility,” Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan said in a statement. “In turn, this exposure enhances recruiting.”

This could all end up is a giant recruiting bump for the 11 schools comprising the Big Ten, especially for Olympic sports. Parents and friends could possibly purchase the channel, increasing attention. So, too, could opponents in the same geographical area to help scout. The possibilities are endless and just really starting to take shape.

Greenspan said Indiana will receive 60 hours of programming on the channel, ranging from sports to other, non-athletic ventures.

What that entails, however, has yet to be seen. It’s still more than a year away.

Reports had bounced back and forth whether the channel would become a reality, but other conferences saw this coming for a while, Carparelli said.

The idea, though, is one conferences will likely pursue at some point.

Charles Bloom, the associate commissioner for media relations in the Southeastern Conference, said the SEC has discussed possibilities of an SEC Channel with TV companies, although he declined to name them. The main snag for the SEC is its current TV contract, which would keep an SEC station from being on-air until 2009.

Eventually, there could be channels for every major conference.

“The prospects are definitely there for it,” Bloom said. “…There are discussions that will happen in every conference to see if it is their idea of what they want to do in the future.”

The Big Ten channel probably won’t do too much for football. It will carry at least 35 games, but the majority of games fans will likely tune in for will already be gobbled up by ABC or ESPN, which also signed a 10-year deal to televise football and men’s basketball games. Where it will really help is with early-season men’s basketball and all of the other sports from women’s basketball on down.

“Combined, they will maintain the highest level of coverage for our revenue sports but will now allow us to introduce the other Olympic sports in a much more comprehensive way to the nation,” Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said.

So brush up on Indiana golfer Jorge Campillo, Michigan gymnast Tatjana Thuener-Rego and Minnesota wrestler Dustin Schlatter. Soon enough, you’ll be able to watch all of them on television from the comfort of your couch.

mrothstein@jg.net (mrothstein@jg.net)
– The Associated Press contributed to this story

jspchief
06-22-2006, 11:45 AM
I have to say, when it comes to the marketing of Athletics, the Big Ten seems to always be at the forefront.

This move just magnifies how big a joke the Big 12 is in this regard.

Saulbadguy
06-22-2006, 11:45 AM
Meanwhile, the Big XII has its totally awesome FSN contract. What a joke.

JBucc
06-22-2006, 11:45 AM
I thought that said Big BenROFL

KCTitus
06-22-2006, 11:47 AM
You cannot call yourself a sports fan, but not have the SPORTS channels... -5 man points.

ChiefsfaninPA
06-22-2006, 11:47 AM
I thought that said Big BenROFL
That wouldn't be too far from the truth. After his accident, the local stations were Big Ben update centers. They were giving a Big Ben takes a piss update at least once every few hours.

jidar
06-22-2006, 11:51 AM
Sign me up for Big XII channel plz.

jspchief
06-22-2006, 12:04 PM
Meanwhile, the Big XII has its totally awesome FSN contract. What a joke.The Big 12 has been a joke when it comesto televising sports for along time now.

The Big Ten has TV crews at every single Big 10 football game played. Meanwhile, if you aren't OK, Texas there's a good chance that you're not going to get to see very many of your football games on TV.

Saulbadguy
06-22-2006, 12:07 PM
The Big 12 has been a joke when it comesto televising sports for along time now.

The Big Ten has TV crews at every single Big 10 football game played. Meanwhile, if you aren't OK, Texas there's a good chance that you're not going to get to see very many of your football games on TV.
Yep.

BigMeatballDave
06-22-2006, 12:33 PM
I thought that said Big BenROFLheh...so did I...