ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced today that Joel Klatt, FOX Sports’ lead college football game analyst, will serve as host of the 2017 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, which will be held Tuesday, July 25, in the Skyline Ballroom at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.
Klatt will be joined at the Kickoff Luncheon by each of the Big Ten’s 14 head coaches, 42 of the conference's top returning students and College Football Hall of Fame inductees Tom Cousineau of Ohio State and Tim Krumrie of Wisconsin. Klatt will sit down with the coaches in small groups to discuss the upcoming season and also interview Cousineau and Krumrie.
Klatt joined FOX Sports as an analyst in 2013 for FS1’s launch. He spent his first two seasons with FS1 and the FOX broadcast network as a full-time studio analyst for the network’s college football coverage, host of FOX NFL KICKOFF, a part-time game analyst, primarily working Thursday night contests on FS1. Prior to the 2015 season, Klatt was elevated to FOX Sports’ lead college football game analyst, where he teams with play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson, including calling the 2015 and 2016 Big Ten Football Championship Games on FOX. Showing impressive versatility, he has served as a digital host during the 2015, 2016 and 2017 U.S. Open Championships.
The 46th annual Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon begins at 10 a.m. CT with an autograph session with the head coaches and Hall of Famers, while select students will participate in brief, live interviews, conducted by FOX Sports’ Jenny Taft. Around 10:50 a.m. CT, fans can get group pictures of the Hall of Famers, all 14 coaches and all 42 players in attendance. Taft will also talk with additional conference standouts at the beginning of the Kickoff Luncheon, which starts at 11:30 a.m. and will feature highlight videos, group interviews, and much more, including door prizes highlighted by a free trip to the Big Ten Football Championship Game and to the Big Ten’s top bowl game destination.
Taft joined FOX in 2012 as a FOX Sports Girl for the Twin Cities-based regional network, FOX Sports North. In 2013, she auditioned for a role at FS1 and was hired by the network, where she has worked as an update anchor, sideline reporter for the network’s soccer and college football coverage, field reporter for several championship events, Monster Energy Supercross pit reporter and host for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. For the 2017 college football season, she is part of FOX Sports’ lead college football game crew, teamed with play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson and analyst Joel Klatt. Taft is no stranger to the Big Ten, as her father, John, was a two-time national champion as a member of the hockey team at the University of Wisconsin who went on to captain the 1976 U.S. Olympic hockey team and play six seasons in the National Hockey League.
Individual tickets or full tables to the luncheon are now on sale at bigten.org. Tickets are priced at $110 each, with a table seating 10 for $1,100. All fans, regardless of age, must have a ticket for entry to both the autograph session and the luncheon. Click here to submit your order for Kickoff Luncheon tickets. More information on the Kickoff Luncheon can be found here.
The Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon annually attracts some of the most talented names in college sports. The event has drawn legendary coaches as well as each of the conference’s Heisman Trophy winners since 1970. In all, approximately 1,000 of the conference’s finest players and 80 head coaches have celebrated the start of a new college football season at the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon with nearly 54,000 supporters.