Big Ten Network's 'Friday Night Tailgate' to provide campus flavor

August 13, 2007

Weekly Program to Offer Glimpse of Pre-Game Pageantry

Chicago -- Excitement for Big Ten football games starts long before Saturdays. The Big Ten Network program, "Friday Night Tailgate (FNT)," will capture that excitement while letting viewers experience the passion and fervor on Big Ten campuses come alive as players, students, fans and faculty get ready for the big game.

Capping a week of in-depth football analysis, FNT will use the Chicago studio as well as a campus presence to provide an unparalleled look at the next day's games, as well as the excitement and anticipation that surround Friday nights. The show will air every Friday at 8 p.m. ET.

Blending X's & O's with a light-hearted look at what it's like to be on campus the night before the big game, Friday Night Tailgate delivers the true Big Ten Football weekend experience.

The host of FNT is Mike Hall, a Chicago native who is joining the Big Ten network after a three-year stint at ESPN, where he was the lead anchor for ESPNU. The winner of ESPN's first season of "Dream Job," Hall has anchored ESPN's SportsCenter and ESPNEWS.

Hall will talk to members of the local media, Big Ten Network football analysts and a pair of on-location campus correspondents. The show will feature a weekly competition between two Big Ten schools to see which has the better atmosphere and traditions on football weekends. By the end of the football season, FNT will crown the university with the best campus football experience.

"What makes college sports so great isn't just the game, but everything that surrounds it," Hall said. "Friday Night Tailgate is a show that gives viewers a taste of the local flavor."

"Friday Night Tailgate will be a show unique to the Big Ten Network," said Mike Feller, vice president of programming. "It will truly give a sense of what it's like to be on campus leading up to a home football game."

The official launch of the Big Ten Network comes Aug. 30, two days before the kickoff of the 2007 Big Ten college football season. "Big Ten Tonight," a nightly studio show hosted by Dave Revsine, will preview the upcoming season and closely examine all of the weekend's conference teams in action. The network will televise more than 400 live events, including more high-definition programming than any other new network in television history. The network announced a commitment to gender equality by 2010, when all Big Ten Network-controlled television, Internet and mobile media will provide equal men's and women's athletic coverage.

The Big Ten Network is a national television network, available to all cable and satellite providers nationwide, that will allow fans to see their home teams regardless of where they live. The network currently has national agreements in place with DirecTV and AT&T and agreements with more than 80 other cable operators within the eight states of the Big Ten. In total, the network currently is available to viewers in more than 16 million homes. The Big Ten Network is a joint venture between subsidiaries of the Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks.

The network is dedicated to covering the Big Ten Conference and its 11 member institutions. The Big Ten Network will provide unprecedented access to an extensive schedule of conference sports events and shows; original programs in academics, the arts and sciences; campus activities; and associated personalities. Sports programming will include live coverage of more major men's and women's events than ever before, along with news, highlights and analysis, all complemented by hours of university-produced campus programming.

The Big Ten Network will air more than 600 hours of Penn State programming during its inaugural year. The vast majority of Penn State's 29 varsity sports, if not all, will be featured on the Big Ten Network in 2007-08, in addition to at least 60 hours of institutional, non-athletic programming.

A minimum of three Penn State football games will air on the Big Ten Network this season. The Nittany Lions' season opener against Florida International (noon Sept. 1) and home contest against Buffalo (noon Sept. 15) are set to air on the network. Penn State also will make at least one appearance on the Big Ten Network during the eight-game conference schedule.

To get the Big Ten Network, fans should call 1-866-WANT-B10 and record a message or be patched through to their cable operator and request that the network be a part of their expanded basic package. Comcast customers should call 1-215-665-1700 to request the Big Ten Network.

For more information regarding the Big Ten Network, visit online.

  • IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated November 18, 2010