Big Ten Net to Headquarter in Chicago

Dec 20, 2006  •  Post A Comment

(Corrects Announcement Date)

The Big Ten Network on Wednesday announced that it had chosen Chicago as its headquarters and that it planned to build office and studio space in the historic Montgomery Ward Building.

The network is a partnership of Fox Sports Networks and the Big Ten Conference, which had expressed a preference that the network be located near its 11 member schools, which are mainly in the Midwest. The conference itself was formed in Chicago and is headquartered in the Chicago suburbs.

Chicago beat out Indianapolis by providing a $3.2 million business investment package for the network, which is expected to create nearly 100 jobs by the time it launches in August 2007.

The network will feature live sports, including football; classic games from its video archives; a nightly studio news show; and programming provided by the Big 10 member schools, according to Big 10 Network President Mark Silverman. Big Ten football games will also continue to be shown on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.

The network has already secured carriage on DirecTV, and expects to begin negotiating with cable operators in January, said Bob Thompson, president of Fox Sports Network.

Mr. Thompson said the network has already been talking to potential sponsors. The network will not accept beer, liquor or gambling ads, so it is focusing on telecommunication, athletic apparel, automotive and insurance marketers.

(Editor: Gilbert)