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Big Ten Network Catches Election Fever

Big Ten Network, most well-known for its extensive college-football and basketball coverage, is leaving the sports arenas and entering the political arena with a new election special.

Big Ten Battleground: Campaign 2008 is a 90-minute program that will air nationally on Big Ten Network Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. (EST). The special is based upon the results of the Big Ten Battleground Poll, a collaboration between a number of the Big Ten universities to measure voter sentiment in the eight Big Ten states, many of which will be key to the election outcome.

The poll sampled 600 individuals in each of the states: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. It will be repeated in October, when the network will present another installment of the special, to measure any changes in attitude.

"This is the kind of original university programming we envisioned when the network launched," said Mark Silverman, president of Big Ten Network, in a statement. "There are many compelling stories and events taking place on and around Big Ten campuses that affect viewers across the country, and we are pleased to aid such relevant programming to a national audience."

Universities participating in the poll will be the University of Illinois, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Penn State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The network expanded its national footprint and subscriber base in the past few weeks, having inked digital basic-carriage deals with Mediacom Communications, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Cox Communications.