INDIANAPOLIS, July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany and Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman were joined by Indiana University Football Coach Bill Lynch and Purdue University Women's Volleyball Coach Dave Shondell today to support the launch of the Big Ten Network and discuss its importance to Indiana citizens, to Indiana and Purdue Universities and to Big Ten fans across the country. "I am really looking forward to the upcoming season for a number of reasons. One reason is this is the first year our games will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network, so our fans will be able to see the Hoosiers anytime and anywhere," Lynch said. Launching Aug. 30, the Big Ten Network is the nation's first major college sports network in the country dedicated to showcasing Big Ten athletics. This season, it will feature more than 35 football games, more than 105 men's basketball games and more than 55 women's basketball games, with most in high- definition (HD). In addition to its 24-hour standard and HD channels, the Big Ten Network will also offer distributors a dynamic video-on-demand programming service and a rich broadband video package for their high-speed Internet customers, all for a fee in the eight-state Big Ten region that is one-third the cost of most regional sports networks. The Big Ten Network will also air more women's sports than ever before. The network has committed to airing an equal number of men and women's events across all platforms within three years. "What the Big Ten Network is doing is historic," Purdue's Shondell said. "For the first time women's sports will be featured side-by-side with the men's teams and have a place to call home. In addition, the Big Ten Network is giving all of our sports and student-athletes more exposure, which will in turn help us attract better athletes for every sport." The network officially launches in prime time at 7 p.m. Central on Thursday, Aug. 30th, with the evening also marking the inaugural telecast of Big Ten Tonight, the network's signature studio-based news, information and highlight show. The official launch comes two days before the kick-off of the 2007 Big Ten college football season. "The Big Ten Network is a great opportunity for both Indiana University and Purdue University because games will be broadcast not only across the state and the Midwest but nationally. From athletic competition to scholastic achievement, to the institutional values of our universities, the Big Ten Network is committed to highlighting the very best of Indiana and the Midwest," Silverman said. In addition to football and basketball, the Big Ten Network will show more than 170 other NCAA championship sporting events, a nightly studio show and weekly coaches' shows and behind-the-scenes profiles of athletes, faculty and alumni. But the value of the Big Ten resonates beyond the athletic fields. "The Big Ten is more than a series of isolated athletic events," Delany said. "It's a collection of premier institutions whose devotion to excellence unites this entire region. The Big Ten Network is the first network of its kind and its programming will positively enhance the traditions and culture that Big Ten alumni and sports fans around the country have honored for years." The network will feature more than 600 hours of programming produced by the Big Ten member universities and their students, showcasing academic breakthroughs, honored alumni and current students, renowned faculty, and the academic rigor of some of the nation's most prestigious medical, law, liberal arts and other professional programs. The universities will have the opportunity to showcase content that best represents their campus achievements and way of life. With more than 75 deals signed with cable operators in the eight Big Ten states, the network is working hard to ensure its broad distribution throughout the Midwest to realize the greatest academic, entertainment and economic benefits for the entire Big Ten region. Silverman said the agreements, all of which call for the network to be carried on the expanded basic level of service, indicate the network's broad appeal. "As we continue discussions with the largest national cable system operators, we're pleased to know that so many of these Midwestern communities will have the network available to them on expanded basic," he said. About the Big Ten Network: Launching Aug. 30, 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 www.BigTenNetwork.com .
SOURCE Big Ten Network