Three Questions, Three Answers on the Big Ten Network

May 21, 2007

Good morning.

My name is Mark Silverman. As the president of the new Big Ten Network, I am writing today to introduce myself to friends of the University of Iowa and fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes, to provide you some information about the Network and to provide you details about an opportunity you have to ask me questions.

The Big Ten Network will be available to fans of the Hawkeyes, the Big Ten Conference and intercollegiate athletics nationwide in August. It will be dedicated exclusively to showcasing the nation’s premier athletics and academic conference in stunning high definition television.

Beginning this fall and for years to come, fans of Big Ten teams like yourself can expect to see marquee events in football and men’s basketball, hundreds of women’s and Olympic-sports events, “Classic” games, and original campus programming showcasing each Big Ten institution. The Network will also produce a nightly Big Ten studio show that will offer an in-depth look at the day’s athletics news and events from each campus.

I’m also excited to tell you that the Big Ten Network will offer more of the Iowa Hawkeyes than any other television network in history. In addition to all that’s noted above – a list of programming that, as you already know, includes the 2007 University of Iowa football team’s home opener against Syracuse on Sept. 8 – the Big Ten Network will also broadcast the weekly coaches television shows and other content produced by the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

My staff and I recently completed a tour of the 11 Big Ten campuses. We knew when we started that we were going to learn firsthand how deep the love is for school and team. We weren’t disappointed. In fact, we now very clearly understand that passion for the Hawkeyes, the Spartans, the Hoosiers and the intercollegiate athletics teams at all 11 institutions runs deep, very, very deep.

During the tour, we were also consistently asked three questions. They are listed below for your review.

1 – Will I be able to get the big Ten Network?

Yes. You will be able to get the Network if you subscribe to basic cable or satellite service, and if your cable or satellite provider believes the programming is valuable to its customers. If you are currently a cable or satellite customer, you probably have more influence over your cable or satellite provider than you believe. If you are interested in having access to the Network, you should call your provider and ask whether they intend to carry the Big Ten Network. We currently have agreements with DirecTV and AT&T as well as more than 40 cable operators within the Big Ten region.

Have a question about the Big Ten Network?

Great. Ask Mark Silverman, the Network’s president, the question during a live online chat Thursday at noon (Iowa time). Visit for details.

2 – Will I have to pay more for the Big Ten Network?

No. You will not have to pay more for the Network if you live in the eight states of the Big Ten because we believe it is important enough to fans and to the communities in which the universities are located that the network should be carried on basic cable. DirecTV and AT&T have already agreed to include the Network in their basic packages. Outside the eight Big Ten states, you may need to subscribe to digital cable.

3 – Will the Big Ten Network include games of the Iowa Hawkeyes?

Yes. As already noted, the Iowa football team’s game against Syracuse has already been selected for primetime broadcast on the Big Ten Network. But here’s a little more explanation: In football, for example, ABC will still have its national game each week, and the Big Ten Network will rotate selection of the other games with ESPN and ESPN2. Half of the time, the Big Ten Network will choose the “second best” or “third best” game of that particular week in the schedule. Because we want all fans to be able to see their teams, we will produce coverage all of the games not carried by ABC or ESPN and split feeds, so that if you live in Iowa you will see the Iowa game and if you live in Pennsylvania you will see the Penn State game, even if they are being played simultaneously.

Also, if you live outside Iowa – in Pennsylvania, for example – but want to watch the Hawkeyes, we are working with satellite and cable distributors to offer all of the games we produce somewhere in their channel lineups. We fully intend to make the games available so that you can follow your team wherever you live.

We also are investigating distributing extra games on alternative platforms such as broadband and mobile, and will announce these agreements as they are finalized.

We are also talking to cable providers outside the geographical boundaries of the Big Ten because we know fans of Big Ten all over the country. appeal. National distribution agreements with DirecTV and AT&T are evidence of our commitment to meet the needs of these fans.

For those of you who would like a bit more detail, HERE to review an updated FAQ on the Big Ten Network web site. You can also register to be a Big Ten Network Insider by going to

Finally, I also want to invite you to participate in a web chat I will be hosting at 1 p.m. EDT/noon CDT this Thursday (May 24). This is the first of a series of online chats that we will stage in the coming weeks in an effort to learn more about what your thinking and to distribute pertinent news and information. To participate in the web chat, or simply view it, log on to at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT on Thursday. We’ll also post an archive of the chat transcript in case you miss it.

So, stay tuned, and visit for more information.

Mark Silverman
President, Big Ten Network

P.S. Interested in a sneak peek at the high-quality programming you’ll see beginning in August on the Big Ten Network? Click HERE and enjoy!

Click HERE to learn more about the Big Ten Network.