The Big Ten has started to put together their plans for the future of the Big Ten championship game. The first step was to determine a location for the first game and then work on plans for future host sites at a later time. Next season, after the Big Ten adds Nebraska, the initial Big Ten football championship game will be played in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. We now know who will be broadcasting the game for the next six years; FOX Sports.
The Big Ten released a statement confirming a deal between FOX Sports and the conference had been reached to broadcast the conference’s football championship from 2011 to 2016. According to the press release FOX Sports will promote the Big Ten championship game on all of its platforms including FOXSports.com, FOX Sports Radio, and during its coverage of all major fall sporting events such as NFL games and the MLB postseason. FOX will air the World Series once again next year in addition to the American League Championship Series and the NFL ratings are among the highest in sports.
“We are excited to announce that FOX Sports will be the official broadcast partner for the 2011-16 Big Ten Football Championship Games,” said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. “FOX Sports is known for carrying the biggest sporting events in the country and is a leader in the acquisition, creative production and cutting-edge promotion of national events. Big Ten sports have achieved broad coverage in the American sports landscape through agreements with ABC, ESPN, CBS Sports, CBS College Sports Network and the Big Ten Network. We look forward to the addition of FOX Sports, which is committed to promoting Big Ten football and will air the Big Ten Championship Games to more than 115 million homes.”
“Since our inception in 1994, our goal has been to provide viewers with the biggest, most prestigious sporting events in America and the acquisition of the Big Ten Football Championship Game continues that tradition,” said David Hill, Chairman & CEO, FOX Sports Media Group. “We are thrilled to bring this contest to the network and we’re looking forward to providing it an unprecedented, multi-platform promotional effort while maximizing the synergistic opportunities between FOX Sports and the Big Ten Network.”
There was already a relationship between the Big Ten and FOX Sports that may have led to an easier negotiation between the two partners. FOX Sports owns 49% of the Big Ten Network (the Big Ten owns the remaining 51%). FOX Sports has been criticized for their coverage of the Bowl Championship Series in recent years but with a partnership with the Big Ten already with the Big Ten Network look for some of the familiar faces from the network to help carry the coverage on FOX Sports.