Monday, June 18, 2007
Big Ten Network: Not Everybody Wants It
Doors to cable viewers are not swinging open like the Big Ten planned. The conference's Big Ten Network is scheduled to go on air in August, but the league is finding it difficult to swing a deal with cable heavyweight Comcast, with Time Warner Cable is also hesitant to add the network.
According to the New York Times, Comcast is developing a campaign that will attempt to prove that the network is too expensive and too provincial to be broadly distributed.
"I have no doubt that the Big Ten will try to rile up their fans and alumni to say that big bad Comcast is denying their content to Big Ten fans and alumni," David Cohen, an executive vice president of Comcast, told the Times' Richard Sandomir.
The root of this dispute could be traced to early discussions about the network, when Comcast was approached about becoming the Big Ten's partner. The cable operator's view of the network was limited in scope, and the Big Ten found a more willing partner in Fox, which will run and own 49% of the operation.
The Big Ten's problems don't end with Comcast, which is the leading provider in the conference's eight states. Time Warner Cable, with the second-most subscribers in the Big Ten markets, is taking a similar position to Comcast's.
"I'm not confident of anything right now," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said. "All I'll say is I have a hard time seeing many more offerings with more appeal than ours."
The Big Ten's marketing reach is extending online. It has been adding videos like the one above to YouTube. Thus far, eight videos have been posted, six of them recapping spring practice and previewing the season for six teams. Here are links to the six teams previewed thus far: Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Illinois.
Posted by dawizofodds at 1:57 AM