Park Ridge, Ill. On the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the Big Ten Network, Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany revealed that the Big Ten Network will become the first national network to commit to “event equality” for men’s and women’s sports on all network-controlled media within the first three years of launch. Delany announced this historic commitment to gender equity today during a media teleconference outlining the progress of the Big Ten Network.
“The Big Ten has an incredible history of supporting gender equity and today’s announcement signals our continued dedication to women’s athletics,” said Delany. “The Big Ten Network’s commitment to event equality’ is a first in the history of a national sports network. Combined with the compelling athletic competition, university-produced programming and alcohol-free advertising policy, today’s announcement positions this enterprise as the most balanced and equitable sports network in America today – one in total alignment with the values of our great universities.”
“The network’s commitment to airing an unprecedented amount of women’s events sets a compelling example for other networks and conferences to follow,” agreed Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman. “As women’s sports increases in popularity across the country, the Big Ten Network will be well-positioned to expand this appeal more broadly than ever before.”
In its first year, the Big Ten Network will already feature more conference women’s athletics than ever before, making up nearly 40 percent of the programming. The network’s commitment to “event equality” signals its intention to produce and distribute an equal number of men’s and women’s events by year three. This “event equality” will provide the largest concentration of women’s athletics on any national network in history while also providing more coverage to conference men’s sports than ever before by utilizing all available network-controlled media. Today’s announcement highlights the Big Ten’s ongoing dedication to gender equity, which is aligned with the commitment of conference institutions to provide fairness for all female student-athletes.
The Big Ten has a strong history of supporting gender equity, including becoming the first conference to voluntarily adopt male/female participation goals for student-athletes in 1992. The Big Ten initiated a five-year plan for conference members to commit to a 60 percent/40 percent male to female student-athlete participation ratio which was achieved as a conference in 1997, with all schools individually meeting this goal by 2000. Over the past five years, the Big Ten has maintained on average a 53 percent/47 percent male to female participation ratio. Since 1992, Big Ten institutions have created in excess of 2,000 new opportunities for women’s student-athletes and established 28 new women’s teams.
The Big Ten Network will launch in August with a programming lineup unparalleled in college sports television today, featuring between 350 and 400 live events including football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports, available conference championships and more original high-definition programming than any new network in television history.
The Big Ten Network is a national television network, available to all cable and satellite providers nationwide, that will allow fans to see their home teams regardless of where they live. The network currently has national agreements in place with DirecTV and AT&T and also a local agreement with Buckeye CableSystem in Toledo, Ohio, for more than 150,000 subscribers in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan. Additionally, the network has agreements pending with more than 40 other cable operators within the eight states of the Big Ten. In total, the network currently is available to viewers in 16 million homes.
The sports programming on the Big Ten Network and alternative network-controlled platforms will include, but is not limited to:
– More than 35 football games each season
– More than 105 regular season men’s basketball games
– A nightly studio show including segments from each campus
– Women’s sports, including basketball, volleyball, soccer and softball
– More than 170 Olympic sporting events including baseball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, swimming, diving and more
– Classic games and historical footage from ESPN and ABC libraries
– Original campus programming produced by Big Ten member universities showcasing their academic excellence, talented students and award-winning programs
– Weekly coaches shows
In addition to airing more coverage of Big Ten sports than ever before, the Big Ten Network will also provide numerous benefits to communities around the Big Ten, including increased exposure for women’s sports, providing positive role models for girls; a greater economic impact to the communities from added sporting event production, with the potential to generate higher attendance; and greater national exposure for the excellence that surrounds the academic endeavors of Big Ten universities, some of the most highly regarded in the nation. Also, an internship program at each of the 11 universities will offer 110 students training for careers in sports, television and entertainment.
About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of 11 world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in student-athletes’ lives and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. Big Ten universities provide in excess of $94 million in athletic scholarship aid to more than 8,400 men and women student-athletes who compete for 25 championships, 12 for men and 13 for women. Conference institutions sponsor broad-based athletic programs with more than 270 teams. For more information, visit http://www.bigten.org/.
About the Big Ten Network: Launching this August, the Big Ten Network is dedicated to covering the Big Ten Conference and its 11 member institutions. The Big Ten Network will provide unprecedented access to an extensive schedule of conference sports events and shows; original programs in academics, the arts and sciences; campus activities; and associated personalities. Sports programming will include live coverage of more major men’s and women’s events than ever before, along with news, highlights and analysis, all complemented by hours of university-produced campus programming. The network is available to all cable and satellite carriers and television distributors nationwide, with most programs offered in stunning high-definition television (HDTV). The Big Ten Network is a joint venture between subsidiaries of the Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks. For more information regarding the Big Ten Network, visit http://www.bigtennetwork.com/.