Tony Petitti, former Major League Baseball (MLB) executive, has been named as the new commissioner of the Big Ten athletic conference, succeeding Kevin Warren. Petitti, who served as Chief Operating Officer of MLB and President and CEO of MLB Network, will begin his term on May 15th. He also participated in the interview process as well as the final selection which include the 14 college teams from the Big Ten Conference and teams from USC and UCLA who will join the conference in 2024. His background includes helping create the Bowl Championship Series and his work with the NCAA Tournament. He was named COO at MLB after Rob Manfred became the league’s commissioner, and later became the President of Sports and Entertainment at Activation Blizzard.
Petitti assumes the role at a “transformational time” in college athletics and will aim to lead the conference’s 14 schools into new growth opportunities that can help elevate academic and athletic experiences, as well as offer new resources for student-athletes. Kevin Warren, his predecessor, announced his departure in January so he could take over as President and CEO of the Chicago Bears. The Big Ten aims to create more leadership continuity with this new appointment.
Petitti’s contributions to sports and entertainment span across several prestigious institutions, including CBS, ABC Sports, and ESPN. In 2019, Activision Blizzard hired him as the company’s President of Sports and Entertainment. The Big Ten are now in good hands with incoming Tony Petitti, who is optimistic about working alongside the best athletics directors, coaches, conference staff, and board in the country.
Petitti is replacing Kevin Warren after Warren was hired in June 2019 after four years as the COO for the Minnesota Vikings. After Warren’s departure last January, the Big Ten announced that all member universities would help to select their next commissioner. Petitti has an extensive background in sports, including helping create the Bowl Championship Series and working with the NCAA Tournament while at CBS. He has described the appointment as an “honour” and is looking forward to working alongside conference staff and board, aiming to continue improving academic and athletic experiences for Big Ten student-athletes. Petitti expects to focus on several areas for growth when he starts on May 15th.