The Big Ten has its new commissioner.
Tony Petitti, whose previous roles include MLB deputy commissioner and CBS Sports executive vice president, will replace Kevin Warren as the new leader of the Big Ten, the conference officially announced Wednesday. Petitti will begin his tenure as Big Ten commissioner May 15.
“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 in a news release. “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. Thank you to the extraordinary people and places that have led me to this next challenge in my career. I am ready to get to work for the Big Ten Conference community.”
Petitti is currently a CEO at The 33rd Team, an NFL media outlet. Previously, Petitti was the president of sports and entertainment at Activision Blizzard, a video game company that has produced titles such as Call of Duty and Guitar Hero.
Before that, Petitti spent 12 years working for Major League Baseball, starting his tenure with MLB as president and CEO of MLB Network before promotions to chief operating officer and deputy commissioner. Prior to joining MLB, Petitti was an executive vice president and executive producer at CBS Sports, while he worked for ABC Sports prior to joining CBS.
A graduate of Haverford College and Harvard Law School, Petitti continues a trend of major college sports conferences hiring commissioners with backgrounds outside of college sports. Warren, who is leaving the Big Ten to become the president and CEO of the Chicago Bears, was the COO of the Minnesota Vikings before joining the Big Ten. Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark was the CEO of entertainment agency Roc Nation before joining the Big 12 while Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff was the president of entertainment and sports at MGM Resorts International before joining the Pac-12.
“Tony’s capabilities to navigate the complexities of changing marketplace environments, history as a collaborative leader, and passion for academics and collegiate athletics made him the right leader, at the right time, for the Big Ten Conference,” said Maryland president Darryll Pines, who chaired the Big Ten’s search committee.