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Conference realignment has largely been about the enormous national television deals and the power plays that exist between the power conferences and respective networks. But there will also be a huge effect on the conference networks that cover newly expanded leagues on a day-to-day basis, with perhaps none being impacted quite like the Big Ten Network.

BTN has gone from covering a midwestern conference consisting of 11 teams when it launched in 2007 to now covering a nationwide league of 18 teams in 2024. In the time that Big Ten Network has been around, the league has added Nebraska, Maryland, Rutgers, and now four surviving Pac-12 members USC, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon.

In an interview with longtime Pac-12 writer John Canzano, Big Ten Network president François McGillicuddy answered questions about incorporating four west coast schools into BTN’s coverage this season that now stretches coast to coast. And that includes collaborative relationships with each new school as well as new employees based both in Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest.

Going through the expansion process, our team’s primary goal has been working to ensure the network can be the home of those four schools from the day they officially join. As you would imagine, that has entailed hiring full-time staff who reside on the West Coast. We now have five full-time employees in Los Angeles, several of which joined the company last year, and four full-time employees in the Pacific Northwest (soon to be five). As a part of that, each campus will also have a dedicated, full-time on-campus producer/editor whose sole job is to generate video content from the institution’s athletic programs.

While BTN will have their hands full with coverage, the Pac-12 Network that used to house the four new West Coast schools is no more. While the Pac-12 Network was home to some great advances in covering college sports, it ultimately fell victim to conference realignment.

However, as McGillicuddy told Canzano, the Big Ten is looking at adding Pac-12 talent in front of the cameras while also already adding veterans from the shuttering network behind the scenes.

We do, although the on-air portion will likely not be announced officially until later in July. The Pac-12 Network had incredibly talented people both on-air and behind-the-scenes, and we have been fortunate to add some of those folks. It gets back to our goal of immediately representing all four schools and their fan bases.

As it relates to the Big Ten, no one should know those schools better than the Big Ten Network. The conference is now at 18 schools, versus 11 when the network launched, and admittedly there is a lot more knowledge required. Adding staff with an immediate and expert sense of programs, traditions, and rivalries is a must for us.

The amount of new inventory Big Ten Network will possess is massive, especially considering the impact not just on revenue sports like men’s and women’s basketball and football, but Olympic sports as well. And it makes perfect sense to add Pac-12 Network personnel who can make a seamless transition to covering the four West Coast teams when they have already been doing so for years.

It will be interesting to see which West Coast talent may come over to BTN to fill some of those roles throughout the various college athletics seasons, but the behind the scenes folks will be just as important in getting the network ready for a whole new era of covering the newly expanded conference.

[John Canzano]