Brandon's Blog: BTN Continues to Develop

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page,, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

It was a big-time college football game: No. 8-ranked Michigan vs. No. 2-ranked Alabama in the Cowboys Classic in Cowboys Stadium. And the interest in this particular game was through the roof.

Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys and Cowboys Stadium, noted a game ticket for this contest was tougher to come by than any event ever hosted at his incredible stadium.

While those who were fortunate enough to obtain tickets for the game in Arlington, Texas, had a chance to watch it in person, millions of fans were glued to their television sets to watch the action. It was a big game carried by ESPN on ABC.

Football fans are not content to watch just the big games on television; they want to see our team play every week and they want as much information as they can possibly get. Everyone now believes we are entitled to watch games that just a few years ago would never have found their way onto the screen and into our home.

On Thursday of this past week, the Big Ten Network celebrated its fifth anniversary. As a result of this groundbreaking broadcasting asset, all Big Ten fans can now tune in and watch their favorite men's and women's team not only on their TV screen but on other media platforms as well.

Ten years ago, there were few if any flat-screen televisions, and few would have believed there would be more than one computer in a household. In the last five years, portable computers and mobile phones have become entertainment devices and media has become even more fragmented as a result of the exponential growth of the Internet audience.

The Big Ten Network is a 24-hour network available in 90 million homes nationwide. And in the five years since it first went on the air, the BTN has developed into a multimedia sports platform growing with technology and achieving great success.

The great thing is, the BTN has given every one of our sports teams a chance to play on television. It provides a place where all Big Ten fans can go to find high-quality coverage of their favorite teams and sports.

Cowboys Stadium has the state-of-the-art $40 million videoboard. It weighs 600 tons, stretches from 20-yard line to 20-yard line, and has 25,000 square feet of video displays.

If you were lucky enough to be in the stadium for the Cowboys Classic, you were able to see the game and enjoy all the unique characteristics this great venue has to offer. Even though the game was disappointing, the event itself was special. It was a one-time event for one evening in September.

The Big Ten Network is there for Big Ten fans 24 hours a day, seven days a week on media platforms big and small -- wherever one might be. And every member of the Big Ten Conference is happy they are!

Congratulations to the BTN on a great five years, and here's to many more!

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