"Extra Points" is an exclusive look at the television network dedicated to covering your favorite schools from one of America’s premier collegiate conferences -- the Big Ten! Get the scoop on the latest news and happenings at the Big Ten Network directly from the BTN Communications team.
Football season is here, and we’re ready to rumble! Check out which analysts will be leading the charge for BTN this season.
BTN threw an exclusive party at Cipriani in New York Thursday for 1,000 alumni and friends of the Big Ten that featured some of the conference’s best-known celebrities along with mascots and cheerleaders.
Monday was a great day in New York. First, the weather was spectacular. Anyone who has been breathing for the past eight months knows what a terrible winter – and cold, wet spring – it has been in both the Midwest and Northeast.
Earlier this morning, we released BTN’s 2014 primetime football selections. The six games to air in prime-time this fall will include the 2013 Big Ten Champion Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan and Big Ten newcomers Maryland and Rutgers. The day prime-time schedules are released is always exciting, because it’s like the unofficial start of football season. What most people may not realize is how extensive the research and planning process is prior to finalizing and announcing the selections.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll zip my suitcase, grab my bags and head to the airport. For the next few days, Dallas is my home and AT&T (Cowboys) Stadium is my office.
On Sunday, when the Nittany Lions men’s basketball team hosts Wisconsin, Penn State will honor Brandon Ream, a former Penn State punter and one of the most beloved student athletes from Centre County who passed away in November at the age of 29 after a two-year battle with cancer.
This week BTN hosted an event for representatives from the Chicago Big Ten alumni chapters at Farmhouse, one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I thought it would be a perfect spot for a Big Ten get together, not only because of the delicious food, but because everything served is from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. You could say Farmhouse cooks up some major Big Ten flavor!
Registration opened Wednesday for the third-annual BTN Big 10K. It is one of the most exciting races in the city that brings together Big Ten fans, alumni and current students. The event is a celebration of the Big Ten community, as well as the upcoming Big Ten football season.
On Friday, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson made her BTN debut as the analyst for the Illinois women’s gymnastics meet vs. Iowa. Johnson, born and raised in Des Moines, IA, took the nation by storm during the 2008 Summer Olympics when she captured four medals, including gold on the balance beam. Six years have passed since returning from Beijing, but Johnson has never stepped out of the limelight. Now Johnson begins this exciting new chapter in her life as a BTN analyst, in which she will be on the call for a number of upcoming meets and the Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships on March 22.
BTN is getting fancy this weekend as we join forces with the American Cancer Society in support of Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers™ Awareness Weekend. All weekend long, coaches from all over the country will wear sneakers with their suits during games to raise awareness of the fight against cancer. This year, we’re asking the students to join in.
We were all looking forward to Gus Johnson calling tonight’s first “Super Wednesday” game featuring Iowa at Michigan – fully expecting the “Law of Gus” to ensure an exciting finish. Call it a casualty of Winter Storm Janus or the Polar Vortex – we’re sad to report that Gus won’t be able to make it. Myriad flights from New York to Detroit were canceled, along with thousands others across the country in the wake of the storm, which so far has dumped nearly a foot of snow in New York City alone. Simply put, Gus wasn’t able to get here from there.
Monday, the nation celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To commemorate the holiday, BTN will air a special edition of #BTNLive at 6 p.m. ET that pays tribute to the civil rights leader with a series of remembrances and interviews with key Big Ten leaders. Hosted by Rick Pizzo and Stephen Bardo, the show will include interviews with Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith and Penn State Women’s Basketball Coach Coquese Washington.
Tonight’s B1G hockey coverage begins at 6 PM ET with Frozen Friday: Face-Off, hosted by BTN’s Rick Pizzo and analyst Paul Caponigri. At 6:30 PM ET, Michigan State hosts Penn State, followed by Gophers vs. Buckeyes at 9 PM ET in the 2014 Hockey City Classic. The night concludes with Frozen Friday: Final Rush at approximately 11:30 PM ET
Find out more about: Frozen Fridays
Tonight marks the start of Frozen Fridays, our B1G hockey doubleheaders that run for eight straight weeks. We begin at 6 PM ET with Frozen Friday: Face-Off, hosted by BTN’s Rick Pizzo and hockey analyst Paul Caponigri, followed by Michigan State at Ohio State and Michigan at Wisconsin. The night concludes with Frozen Friday: Final Rush at approximately 11:30 PM ET.
Find out more about: Frozen Fridays
BTN visited Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Wednesday afternoon to bring some holiday cheer to the patients and their families. BTN’s on-air personalities Dave Revsine, Howard Griffith, Shon Morris and Lisa Byington, along with BTN Vice President, Marketing Erin Harvego, were all on hand playing games, creating holiday crafts and spending time with the children.
Over the past few months I’ve had the chance to work closely with the team of producers, editors and camera crew responsible for making The Journey the amazing show it is.
On Wednesday, we set up a conference call for BTN’s Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith to preview this weekend’s B1G Championship game between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Michigan State. We had a good crew of Big Ten beat writers join, one of whom was the Detroit News’ Angelique Chengelis. You can see her take on the call here.
Now that the turkey has been eaten, the holiday shopping is now complete – for some of us – and the Big Ten football regular season has officially concluded, sit back and relax with BTN this week as we prepare for the 2013 Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday.
At 7 PM ET tomorrow night, BTN will debut its first feature-length documentary in network history. Tiebreaker examines the aftermath of the 1973 Ohio State-Michigan football game, which ended in a 10-10 tie. With both the Buckeyes and Wolverines finishing the season with a 7-0-1 conference record, and only one Big Ten team able to play in a bowl game, Big Ten Athletic Directors had to vote on which school would represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. It was an unprecedented moment in sports history, and the film’s team of producers did an incredible job of bringing viewers back in time. The 60-minute film features rare, archiProval footage and interviews with student-athletes, coaches and administrators who lived the moment.
Find out more about: BTN Originals
It has been buzzing here at the BTN studios this week due in part to our hosting a Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) Lab. CIW is a week-long annual gathering of global leaders brought together to celebrate innovation and inspire new ideas. CIW Labs are events that give groups of people the opportunity to go behind the scenes of some of Chicago’s local businesses and organizations.
Everyone here at the network is really excited for the second season of The Journey: Big Ten Football to debut tonight. Last year’s debut season was really well-received and it even won a few awards, including the 2013 CableFax Award for Best Show – Sports, against some pretty stiff competition.
This past Saturday, the new BTN2Go ad campaign was unveiled, and we debuted a 30-second commercial during BTN’s Football Pregame Show. BTN2Go is the mobile extension of BTN that allows fans to watch the network live from anywhere on desktop, tablet or mobile device. Watch the ad in this post, plus see photos of the mini mascots.
Find out more about: Big Ten Mini Mascots
Since launching in August 2007, BTN has called the fabulous city of Chicago its home. Through various community initiatives as well as the BTN Big10K race, BTN is establishing deep roots here.