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Big Ten’s new commissioner has an impressive resume

Many people find Tony Petitti to be innovative.

CBS Winter 2007 TCA Press Tour Photo by M. Phillips/WireImage

The Big Ten Conference has a new commissioner.

The conference announced on Wednesday that Tony Petitti will succeed Kevin Warren as commissioner.

Warren is leaving to become the president and CEO of the Chicago Bears. Warren’s last day on the job will be April 14.

Petitti’s had more than a handful of interesting career stops, and they all have been highly successful and fruitful.

  • Was executive vice president for CBS Sports, an integral part of their NFL coverage.
  • 14-time National Sports Emmy Award winner.
  • Chief Executive Officer of MLB Network from 2008-2014. Petitti was the first CEO of the network and helped it grow to what it is today. There are over 69 million households that currently receive MLB Network.
  • Petitti then became the chief operating officer of MLB after Rob Manfred was elevated to commissioner in 2015. Credited for helping MLB innovations such as the Field of Dreams Game, World Baseball Classic, and Home Run Derby.
  • President Activision Blizzard of sports and entertainment for Activision Blizzard, a major video game company.

The Big Ten calls Petitti Petitti “a proven leader who brings nearly four decades of sports, business, and media industry acumen to the Big Ten Conference”.

“We are at a time in collegiate athletics that we need leaders with innovative forethought, the highest principles, and a spirit of fairness and partnership,” Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones said in a statement. “Tony brings a dynamic style of leadership and impeccable integrity to the conference.”

Petitti officially begins his tenure with the Big Ten a month from now on May 15. Petitti will be the head of a conference that landed a huge television deal last year and will be adding high-profile programs to the conference a year from now in USC and UCLA. It’s a great time to become the commissioner of the Big Ten.

“At this important and transformational time in collegiate athletics, it is truly my great honor to be chosen by the Council of Presidents and Chancellors as the commissioner of the Big Ten Conference,” Petitti said. “I am energized to work alongside the best athletics directors, coaches, conference staff and board in the country as — together — we continue to elevate the academic and athletic experiences and resources for our 14, soon-to-be 16, world-class universities with nearly 10,000 incredible student-athletes.”

Petitti’s resume is impressive and intriguing, and he may have the right ingredients to continue to bring the conference forward in a new era where rapid changes in college athletics have become the norm.