Ohio State fans can go into overdrive thanks to a new TV channel starting next summer.
The college sports powerhouse conference Big Ten is the latest entrant into the Which Sports Organization Can Start Its Own Channel sweepstakes. "The Big Ten Channel" will be co-produced with FOX Sports, and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany tells the Associated Press that the 24 hour outlet will "dramatically increase" the conference's visibility. Delany says The Big Ten Channel will also let the various member schools spotlight not only sports, but other accomplishments.
The channel doesn't end the Big Ten's agreement with ABC/ESPN...in fact, that contract has been extended another 10 years. The conference's channel will be able to pick from various events that are not televised by ABC, ESPN or CBS.
There is a direct local angle, according to the AP article found on Cleveland.com today. The new ABC/ESPN pact will end "ESPN Plus" coverage of Big Ten events syndicated to over-air stations starting next year, including coverage of Ohio State basketball now seen on Cleveland CBS affiliate WOIO/19 and on low-power combo WAOH-LP/29 - W35AX ("The CAT"). CBS network coverage of Buckeyes basketball will still air on WOIO...just the ESPN Plus syndicated games will end next year.
As for the channel, FOX Sports sister company DirecTV has already signed up for it...