White smoke came billowing out of the upper windows of the Big10 conference center in Rosemont, Illinois earlier today (or it could have been all the interns vaping, it’s hard to tell), signifying the appointment of a new Big10 Commissioner.
Sources: The Big Ten is expected to hire former MLB and CBS Sports Executive Tony Petitti as the league's next commissioner.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) April 11, 2023
Tony Petitti will succeed the much maligned (somewhat unfairly IMO) Kevin Warren, who is off to be the team president and CEO of the Chicago Bears because the man is an absolute glutton for punishment.
Petitti enters the Big10 with no college experience, but a wealth of experience in related fields. He has 12 years of experience working for Major League Baseball, first as the CEO of MLB Network and then as the COO and deputy commissioner of MLB. Before rubbing elbows with Rob Manfred, he was an executive vice president and executive producer at CBS sports. The man knows television.
He is currently the CEO of The 33rd Team, a media outlet that appears to focus on NFL football, including fantasy sports and gambling. At one point in his career he the president of sports entertainment for video game company Activision Blizzard (home of Call of Duty, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and World of War Craft).
If it’s a form of entertainment, it appears Petitti has managed it at some point. He steps into a rapidly shifting Big10 landscape. The Big10, once land locked, will have teams on both coasts and will require a navy. Starting on August 2, 2024, USC, UCLA will represent the West Coast Big10 contingent. Rutgers and Maryland are already ensconced on the east coast. If nothing else, the sea food options in the conference have drastically improved. Now he gets to play a fun game of “eat or be eaten” in conference alignment that isn’t close to being settled.
He’ll have to navigate N.I.L., in-conference tampering (excuse me...transfers) and a plethora of other issues, both big and small (hopefully he avoids having to deal with another pandemic). One thing that’s off his plate is the Big Ten Media deal, as he steps into a conference with a newly minted 7 billion dollar media rights contract, that isn’t set to expire until 2034.
My hope for Mr. Petitti is that I will never write anything about him again, because that means he hasn’t screwed anything up and has continued the Big10 tradition of raking in unseemly amounts of money.
Good luck Tony (you’re going to need it)!