clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten and Comcast decide to play nice

Cable giant reaches deal to maintain relationship with BTN

NCAA Football: Purdue at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Late last week, Comcast and Fox Networks Group, parent company of the Big Ten Network, reached a deal to keep the channel available to cable subscribers.

The deal, reached less than a week until Big Ten football kicks off its season, comes after a weeks-long public squabble over carrier negotiations.

As recently as this summer’s Big Ten Media Day in Chicago, president of Fox Sports National Networks and BTN Mark Silverman pulled no punches when discussing the networks negotiations with Comcast.

“I am letting everyone know this in order to alert Comcast subscribers of the real possibility that they may lose BTN and Big Ten football games on FS1 this season,” said Silverman. “The good news here is that Comcast will be alone if it decides to drop BTN and Big Ten football games on FS1. BTN and Big Ten football games on FS1 are available on many different TV providers – cable, satellite and new Internet providers – and viewers will have no problem finding an alternate provider in their area.”

In the end, the two billion dollar entities game of chicken ended on a positive note — with just a few exceptions.

As per the new deal, Comcast will only offer Big Ten Network to customers in states that have a Big Ten institution, along with those in Delaware, Washington D.C., and Northern Virginia.

Notably absent from that list is the greater New York metropolitan area — a market the Big Ten has been continually looking to make gains in since adding Rutgers to the conference in 2014.

That could change, however, as according to Deadline, making BTN an add-on within Comcast’s Sports and Entertainment package remains a strong possibility during the upcoming months.

Here’s hoping that gets done in time for November, when the real sport people care about gets going.