Oct. 19, 2006
The Big Ten Network announced today the five individuals who will comprise its first Board of Directors, an entity which will provide leadership and oversight for the "television home of the Big Ten Conference," scheduled to launch in August of 2007.
The members of the five-person Board of Directors include Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany, Fox Sports Networks Chief Operating Officer Randy Freer, former PNC Bank Vice Chairman and Penn State philanthropist Edward "Ted" Junker III, President of Fox Sports Networks Bob Thompson and New York Mets Chairman of the Board and CEO Fred Wilpon.
The Board of Directors is responsible for providing strategic oversight and corporate governance for the Network. The General Manager, who is scheduled to be hired by the end of the year, will report to the Board. The Board will develop the long-term vision of the Network and will sustain the ongoing commitment to becoming a premier, nationally distributed channel.
Delany is in his 18th year as commissioner of the Big Ten Conference and has led the Big Ten through significant periods of change and growth. Some of the accomplishments and changes that the conference has experienced under Delany's leadership include expansion of the conference to 11 institutions with the addition of Penn State in 1991, development of the first collegiate version of football instant replay implemented in 2004, and most recently, the creation of the first national television network devoted to the athletic and academic programs of a major collegiate conference with the Big Ten Network.
Freer has served as the chief operating officer of Fox Sports Networks since 2001. His responsibilities include overseeing Fox Sports Net's (FSN) 18 owned-and-operated regional sports networks. Prior to his current position, Freer served as executive vice president. He joined Fox in 1997 after holding senior management positions at Active Entertainment and Turner Broadcasting.
Junker retired in 1997 as vice chairman of PNC Bank Corp., having served as chairman and chief executive officer of Marine Bank (predecessor to PNC Bank) in Erie, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Penn State, he remains active in the ongoing efforts at Penn State University as a member and a past chair of the Board of Trustees, is Chair of the Board of Directors of The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and is a member of the National Council on Penn State Philanthropy. He was a collegiate football player at Penn State and has a long history of involvement with collegiate athletics. He has served on the Governor's Sports and exposition Facilities Task Force and as a director of the Pennsylvania Public Television Network Commission.
Thompson, who joined Fox in 1996 for the launch of Fox Sports Net, oversees a number of Fox Sports Networks' U.S. sports related properties, including sports networks FSN, Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Espanol. Prior to assuming the FSN presidency, his responsibilities included professional and collegiate sports rights acquisitions.
Wilpon is co-founder and chairman of the board of Sterling Equities and chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the New York Mets. In 2005, he co-founded SportsNet New York, a regional sports network. He also co-founded and became chairman of the Brooklyn Baseball Company and owner of the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2000. Wilpon earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1958. His background includes extensive experience in all aspects of the real estate industry, as well as serving as a senior executive of many diversified businesses.
The Big Ten Network is majority-owned by the Big Ten Conference, while Fox holds a minority interest. The Network is dedicated to becoming the destination for Big Ten fans around the country. Showcasing a wide array of classic-to-current sports as well as original programming produced by the conference's 11 institutions, it will be available to all carriers and distributors nationwide.
For more information regarding the Big Ten Network, visit www.bigten.org.
The Big Ten Conference is an association of 11 world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in student-athletes' lives and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. Big Ten universities provide in excess of $89 million in athletic scholarship aid to more than 8,400 men and women student-athletes who compete for 25 championships, 12 for men and 13 for women. Conference institutions sponsor broad-based athletic programs with more than 270 teams. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.
Fox Cable Networks (FCN), a unit of the Fox Networks Group, a wholly owned division of News Corporation (NYSE: NWS), includes 29 domestic programming services in which News Corporation holds interests. These networks collectively service more than 400 million television homes and represent one of the media industry's largest and most diverse groups of programming operations. FCN networks include FX, FSN and its 15 owned-and-operated regional sports networks; National Geographic Channel; National Geographic Channel HD; SPEED; FUEL TV; Fox College Sports; Fox Soccer Channel; Fox Sports en Español; Fox Movie Channel and Fox Reality. FCN also includes Fox Sports Enterprises, which manages interests in sports franchises and leading statistical information provider STATS, LLC.