BTN President Mark Silverman sets the strategic direction and leads the day-to-day operations of the first internationally distributed college conference-owned television network. The 24/7 network, headquartered in Chicago, is dedicated exclusively to the Big Ten Conference.
The network’s first and only president, Silverman guided the network to profitability within two years of launch, and the network has achieved its distribution goals. Today BTN has approximately 52 million subscribers throughout the United States and Canada. BTN’s mobile service, BTN2Go, available in the U.S. through participating cable, satellite and telco providers, is the third most widely distributed mobile sports app in the industry. BTN2Go International is now available to those outside the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
Under Silverman’s leadership, BTN’s ratings and advertising revenue have significantly improved annually, with record-setting ratings for football, basketball, studio shows and original programming. The network also has added top national advertisers, including Allstate, Best Buy, Buffalo Wild Wings, Nissan, BMW, and State Farm and attracted top national talent, such as Keith Jackson, Gus Johnson, Jim Jackson, Stephen Bardo and lead studio host Dave Revsine.
BTN has produced more events for BTN and BTN.com every year under Silverman’s leadership, growing from 413 events in 2007-08 to an anticipated 1,000 events across 27 sports on all platforms in 2013-14.
In addition to live events, BTN offers a full complement of studio and original programming, including the highly acclaimed series, The Journey.
BTN’s portfolio extends beyond the traditional linear network with extensive new media offerings in the areas of broadband and video-on-demand (VOD) through the Big Ten Digital Network. The network currently streams more than 400 events of HD quality, with many of those aired on delay on the linear network as part of the Student U initiative. Using state-of-the-art technology in portable production kits called “fly-packs,” the students produce and announce the events, allowing them to gain real-world television experience. More than 200 students so far have participated in Student U.
BTN has received numerous marketing and programming awards. The network’s highest-rated original program, The Journey: Big Ten Basketball, was nominated for two Sports Emmys and BTN also earned an Edward R. Murrow Award in the category of video sports reporting.
Silverman began his media career in the entertainment industry at The Walt Disney Company, where he held a number of executive positions during his 13-year tenure, principally in the television and movie studio divisions. Prior to joining BTN, Silverman served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the ABC Cable Networks Group. Silverman also previously served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, ABC Family Channel, where he was responsible for channel operations and the development of its business strategy, with emphasis on ad sales, business affairs, business development and finance.
Silverman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan.
Senior Vice President, Production & Executive Producer
Mark Hulsey joined the Big Ten Network as Vice President, Production and Executive Producer in July 2009. In April 2014, Hulsey was promoted to Senior Vice President of Production and Executive Producer. Under Hulsey’s direction, the Big Ten Network produces over 400 live events, and over 250 hours of studio programming a year. In addition, the network produces approximately 600 streamed events through its innovative Student U initiative.
Hulsey came to Chicago after serving as the Executive Producer at Fox Sports Midwest/Fox Sports Indiana/Fox Sports Kansas City since 2000. Under Hulsey’s direction, Fox Sports Midwest annually produced more than 450 live events for seven universities and professional sports teams in a six-state region. Additionally, he oversaw all live event studio pre-game and post-game coverage, collegiate preview shows and 30-minute specials. During Hulsey’s tenure, Fox Sports Midwest won multiple Emmy awards for best Live Event Special for coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues. Hulsey also produced and directed numerous live events for the network.
Prior to joining Fox, Hulsey served as the VP, Broadcasting for four years with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. While in Phoenix, Hulsey created and oversaw the Coyotes in-house broadcast department. He received a regional EMMY award for the Coyotes telecasts in the first year of the franchise.
His career also includes serving as the Director of Broadcasting for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets of the NBA.
Hulsey graduated with a degree in Film Studies from the University of Kansas.
Elizabeth Conlisk is the Big Ten Network’s vice president for communications and university relations. She joined the executive team in March 2007, and was involved in strategic efforts to ensure the network’s wide distribution while generating awareness and creating demand for the first nationally distributed conference network. Conlisk was one of the network’s first 10 employees.
In her position, she leads media relations, customer service and social media while managing relationships between the network and Big Ten universities. The network is widely recognized as a tremendous success that has set the standard for collegiate sports networks. To help a growing audience find its games, Conlisk created a customer service operation that also yields valuable data about viewing trends and preferences. The network was a pioneer in the social media space, becoming an early adopter of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as alternative routes to connect with fans. Through efforts with the universities, the network taps into communications vehicles that directly reach its most passionate viewers. Conlisk and her media relations team earned a 2009 Beacon Award for reputation management.
Before joining the network, Conlisk spent six years at The Ohio State University, where she developed communications strategies to improve the university’s academic reputation. As special assistant to the president for executive communications, she wrote speeches and helped manage high-level projects, including the Big Ten Network, for the university president. Before Ohio State, Conlisk ran the strategic communications consultancy, Opin!onsPlus. She also held marketing and communications positions for Enron Gas Services Group and Miller Brewing Company, where she spent 11 years.
Conlisk earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio State. She also earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Vice President, Marketing
Harvego oversees consumer marketing for the Big Ten Network including brand positioning and strategy, media buying, on-air and grassroots promotions. She is the winner of numerous national cable and sports marketing competitions including multiple ACC Beacon, Addy, CTAM Mark, National Sports Forum and CableFaxie awards.
Harvego created the network’s successful marketing launch campaign in 2007 with the tagline, “This is Big Ten Country and this is where it lives.” She launched the network’s first pro-social campaign, BTN Live Big, which profiles Big Ten alumni and students such as Tony Dungy, Jane Pauley, Tom Osborne and Charles Woodson who give back to their communities in a meaningful way.
Harvego has also executed several memorable grassroots campaigns including creating 8-foot bobbleheads and mascots of renowned Big Ten Icons including Jesse Owens, Drew Brees and BJ Armstrong. She also created an interactive life-sized hologram of former Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George which won several marketing awards including being named by AdWeek as the Best Use of Out Of Home in 2009.
Harvego joined the Big Ten Network in May 2007 after serving as the director of marketing and promotion for Rainbow Sports Networks in New York, a subsidiary of Cablevision. Her responsibilities included oversight of integrated sales and marketing campaigns, consumer marketing, on-air promotions, multi-platform marketing, communications and brand development for Rainbow’s several regional sports services. She also managed the communications and marketing strategy for the launch of sportskool, Rainbow’s sports video-on-demand network. Her public affairs awareness program for sportskool won a 2005 Beacon Award from the Cable Television Public Affairs Association.
Prior to joining Rainbow Sports Networks, Harvego held marketing and communications positions with Fox Sports Net Northwest and Fox Sports Net Arizona.
An avid triathlete and runner, Harvego has completed six Ironman triathlons including qualifying and competing in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. She also qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in communication from the University of Utah and a Masters of Sports Administration from Ohio University.
Vice President, Ad Sales
Jim Reeder is responsible for providing oversight and strategic direction for the entire BTN sales team. Reeder comes to the network after serving as a Sales Account Executive for Fox Networks, where he sold Fox Sports Net, Fox College Sports, Fox Soccer, FUEL TV, and SPEED.
Reeder grew up in Evanston and graduated from Northwestern, where he played baseball. In his junior year at Northwestern, he was drafted by the Houston Astros and played in their farm system for three years. He finished his degree in the off-season and graduated in 1998. In 2000, Reeder joined Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), as Account Executive, Sponsorship Sales. He also worked at Tony Hawk Inc. as the Director, Sponsorship and Marketing before joining Fox in 2005.
Vice President, Programming & Digital Media
Michael Calderon has many connections to the Big Ten Conference, having attended two Big Ten schools (Michigan and Indiana) while also having lived in West Lafayette, Ind. and Evanston, Ill. for significant portions of his life. With these deep Big Ten roots, Calderon joined the Big Ten Network in February 2007 as its Director of New Media and was promoted in April 2010 to Vice President, Digital & Interactive Media. In July 2012, he added Programming to his list of responsibilities. He was one of the network’s first five employees.
Calderon manages all aspects of the Big Ten Network’s programming and digital media strategies, including event selection for all BTN platforms, program scheduling, BTN.com, BTN2Go, the Big Ten Digital Network, BTN On Demand, and mobile video and wireless distribution. Under his leadership, the Big Ten Network’s new media initiatives, particularly its streaming products, have provided increased coverage for Big Ten sports and created significant new revenue streams for the network. The technology developed and deployed on all Big Ten campuses to assist in the production of non-televised Big Ten events has also allowed the network to realize significant cost savings for the linear network’s Olympic sports productions.
Prior to joining the Big Ten Network, Calderon served as the Director of Online Operations for Premiere Global Sports, which provides travel, hospitality, and marketing services for consumers, corporations and universities. He also spent seven years at Sporting News Radio, where he led the national radio network’s new media strategy and served as Operations Director. At Sporting News, Calderon developed and managed relationships with several prominent content partners, including Yahoo!, AOL, RealNetworks, GoTV, OnStar, XM Satellite Radio, and MSpot.
Calderon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Telecommunications with a Business minor from Indiana University and completed graduate work in the MBA program and in the College of Mass Communications & Media Arts at Southern Illinois University.
Vice President, Human Resources & Business Operations
Kim Beauvais serves Vice President of Human Resources and Business Operations. In her role, she oversees all business operations strategy and execution and human resource functions as well as management and administration of contracts and travel.
Serving as BTN’s Director of Human Resources, Beauvais was part of the original management team hired when the network launched in 2007, and has overseen all strategic human resources functions, including executive leadership and talent management programs, during that time. In 2010, BTN was named 24th on Brill Street’s Top Chicago companies for Gen Y. The network, now with more than 100 employees, is the only national network with headquarters in Chicago. Beauvais was promoted to her current role in March 2013.
Before joining BTN, Beauvais worked for Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) as an HR Business Partner within its sports division. During her tenure there, she assumed day-to-day responsibilities for the Chicago Fire Major League Soccer team and Toyota Park. Beauvais was part of the team that opened The Home Depot Center and Toyota Park and previously worked in the front office of the Milwaukee Bucks.
A Wisconsin native, Beauvais received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sports Administration with a minor in business and a Masters of Liberal Studies in Sports Marketing, both from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind.