Thursday, July 19, 2007

Big Ten Network Shut Out Again

If, by chance, you happened to be renting a room in the Montgomery Building in Chicago, which houses the Big Ten Network's offices, could you get the fledgling channel though the local cable company?

The answer appears to be no, according to the network's website.

The Big Ten, in an effort to increase pressure on cable companies to carry the network, recently added a feature to the site that allows users to enter their zip code and send an email to their cable provider demanding it make the network available to them when it launches on Aug. 30.

The email is a form letter crafted by Big Ten Network officials. According to Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a portion of the prepared email message that is sent to cable providers reads: "My neighbors with DirecTV and AT&T tell me that they will get Big Ten Network, and that if I switch over now, I am guaranteed not to miss a single game on Big Ten Network." Hmmm. That almost reads like a threat.

The zip code for the Montgomery Building, located at 600 West Chicago Avenue, is 60610. Enter that zip into the Big Ten Network's site, and you'll see the area is serviced by Comcast, which has entered into a public battle with the conference over its refusal to carry the network. In other words, no go on the cable.

Of course, the Big Ten will work around this matter through the use of satellite dishes.

The Big Ten Network also announced that former Minnesota coach Glen Mason, who had an uneasy relationship with the media, is now one of them. He will serve as a color analyst this season.

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