October 27, 2008
Previous to this year, no similar affinity was held for the Big Ten Network. Games that were previously available everywhere were, thanks to the BTN, only available with DirecTV or certain small regional cable providers. It was an incredibly frustrating experience. What's more, the network was content with mediocre on-air talent, seemingly going for an even blander version of ESPN. But instead of every sport, they just showed the Big Ten. You can imagine how compelling this network was.
Fortunately for us -- but perhaps most fortunately for the Big Ten Network -- Johnson has decided to jump aboard the good ship BTN. This is a very good thing! The Chicago Tribune has the story, and Awful Announcing has the press release:
CHICAGO – Nationally renowned play-by-play man Gus Johnson will join the Big Ten Network for men’s basketball telecasts this season, network executives announced today, along with former Big Ten stars Kendall Gill of Illinois and Steve Smith of Michigan State.
“We couldn’t be more excited about having such a talented lineup for our studio and game coverage. These play-by-play announcers and analysts have a great understanding of the history and tradition of the Big Ten and many of these individuals themselves are a part of that legacy,” said Leon Schweir, Big Ten Network Executive Producer and Vice President for Production.
There's no question Johnson will bring his trademark enthusiasm to the
BTN, which will immediately and markedly improve the product.
Unfortunately, Johnson's voice alone can't improve the Big Ten itself.
Johnson might be otherworldly, but he's not a miracle worker.