Monday, June 16, 2008

Big Ten Network-Comcast Feud Set to End

The Big Ten Network and Comcast have agreed to a deal whereby the league's channel will be made available over the cable carrier, nearly doubling the number of homes that will have access to the league's offering.

An announcement on the deal is expected this week, according to the Chicago Tribune. In March, Sports Business Journal reported that a framework for a deal was in place.

The sides have been squabbling for two years and it would appear — according to the reported terms of the deal — that the Big Ten won and won big.

The Big Ten's central demand was that the network be put on an expanded basic level rather than a sports tier in the league's eight-state footprint. It got that with the exception of the Philadelphia market, according to the Tribune.

The Big Ten also demanded $1.10 per month per subscriber and reportedly got between 70 and 80 cents. Given that the network will now be available in 55 million homes — up from 30 million — we're talking big, big money. In the eight Big Ten states alone, the number surges from 6.5 million to about 13 million.

This will also increase pressure on Time Warner, Mediacom and Charter to reach agreements with the Big Ten.


Anonymous said...

Another piece of this puzzle is that ATT is starting to come on-line in more and more areas of the Chicago with their cable package. Even the base ATT package included the Big 10 network. So for those in the area that could not get BTN through Comcast and were not able to, for whatever reason, get a dish, people were starting to have a third option.

ptrudeau71 said...

Something tells me this won't look like such a win for the conference once the details are announced. First of all, 55 million homes would mean that every Comcast customer ends up paying something for the network, including basic customers outside the Big Ten region. We already know that straight basic is not a part of the deal. And if digital cable is a part of the deal in any of those non-Big Ten states then the number of households drops even more.

Don't get me wrong: I'll be glad when this is all over, but I'd hate to think that this experience will embolden other conferences to toy with their fans the way the Big Ten toyed with us.