Aug 25, 2022 - Sports

Inside the new Big Ten

Photo of a big sculpture that says "B1G"
The Big Ten Conference logo at the football Media Days in July. Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Big Ten has gotten a whole lot bigger since the last time the conference took the football field.

Driving the news: After adding USC and UCLA — which will become the conference's 15th and 16th universities in 2024 — and signing the most lucrative broadcast contract in TV history, reports say Oregon could be next.

Why it matters: The conference's headquarters is in Rosemont, and sports bring big revenue to schools like Northwestern and the University of Illinois.

Context: In 2014, the Big Ten expanded outside its traditional Midwestern schools by adding Rutgers and Maryland — or, more accurately, the markets of New York City and Washington, D.C., respectively.

  • The recent expansion to include USC and UCLA will bring in California for the first time.

The big picture: Gone are the days of the Big Ten as a Midwest juggernaut.

  • To compete with the SEC, the conference has set its sights on bigger cities and bigger markets — and doesn't seem to be stopping there.
  • According to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, schools like Notre Dame, Florida State and Stanford are possibilities.
  • He suggested the conference could eventually expand to 20 schools.

What they're saying: "I think it's changed the narrative on the Big Ten Conference,” Warren told Sports Illustrated last month.

  • "We shrunk the United States in one announcement."

What's next: NU kicks off its 2022 season on Saturday against Nebraska in Dublin, Ireland.

  • The Illini host Wyoming.
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