- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

1:47 p.m.

The Big Ten Conference yesterday announced it will partner with Fox to start its own national television network, with plans to make it available in every cable household across the country.

The move will mark the first attempt by a college athletic conference to enter the realm of network ownership, and likely will make the Big Ten the most widely exposed conference in the nation. The Big Ten would be the majority owner of the network and would contract with Fox to produce content and distribute the channel.

“Fox has a proven and impressive track record of launching and managing networks,” said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. “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 Channel will offer at least 35 football games, including at least two from each team. It also will air more than 105 men’s basketball games and 55 women’s basketball contests, plus coverage of other sports. More than 600 hours of programming will be set aside for academic-related content from the Big Ten universities.

News of the network’s creation was coupled yesterday with the announcement of a new 10-year deal with ABC and ESPN to show Big Ten games, including more than 40 football games and 60 men’s basketball games.

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