Mark Silverman, the network’s first and only president, sets the strategic direction and manages all aspects of BTN, a joint venture between FOX Sports and the Big Ten Conference. BTN is the first successful collegiate television network to be partially owned by a conference. Silverman guided the network to profitability within two years of launch, established and grew the BTN brand and led the network to achieve its distribution goals. Today BTN has 60 million subscribers throughout the United States and Canada and has extended its portfolio beyond the traditional linear network with extensive new digital media offerings.
Under Silverman’s leadership, BTN’s ratings and advertising revenue have significantly improved annually, with record-setting ratings for football, basketball, studio shows and original programming. The network also has added top national advertisers, including Allstate, BMW, Buffalo Wild Wings, Mitsubishi, and State Farm and attracted top national talent, such as Gus Johnson, Matt Millen, Jim Jackson and lead studio host Dave Revsine.
Sports fans throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean can also access BTN through BTN2Go, the network’s digital extension. BTN2Go delivers live games and on-demand programming to BTN customers via the web, smartphones and tablets. Through BTN Plus, the network currently streams more than 600 events of HD quality, of which many also air on delay on the linear network as part of the Student U initiative. Using state-of-the-art technology in portable production kits called “fly-packs,” the students produce and announce the events, allowing them to gain real-world television experience. More than 500 students across all Big Ten campuses participate in Student U each year and are groomed to become broadcast professionals. BTN’s cornerstone, live events, has grown under Silverman’s leadership over the past eight years, from 413 events in 2007-08 to the more than 1,500 high-definition events on all platforms by 2017.
In addition to live events, BTN offers a full complement of original programming, including its signature series, The Journey. Other original programming includes Big Ten Elite, Big Ten Treasure Hunter, A Taste of Coaching, and the network’s feature-length documentaries, Unbeaten: The Life of Brook Berringer and Tiebreaker, featuring the 1973 Ohio State-Michigan game and its controversial aftermath that ultimately changed the Big Ten’s bowl structure.
BTN is also home to several studio shows, including BTN Pregame with Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith on college football Saturdays, BTN Live every weeknight, Big Ten Football and Beyond, BTN Basketball and Beyond and B1G Diamond Report.
Under Silverman’s leadership, BTN has received numerous marketing and programming awards. The Journey: Big Ten Basketball was nominated twice for a National Emmy, and BTN also earned an Edward R. Murrow Award in the category of video sports reporting.
Silverman began his media career in the entertainment industry at The Walt Disney Company, where he held a number of executive positions during his 13-year tenure, principally in the television and movie studio divisions.
Prior to joining BTN, Silverman served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the ABC Cable Networks Group. Silverman also previously served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, ABC Family Channel, where he was responsible for channel operations and the development of its business strategy, with emphasis on ad sales, business affairs, business development and finance.
Silverman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan.