Comcast v. Big Ten, continued . . .

As you probably could have guessed, we got more information Tuesday from both sides of this fight than we could possibly cram into one day’s coverage. And a lot of it we needed to sort out. I’m not saying that we’ve done that completely, but we’ve tried. So I’ve compiled a few notes:

–  Just to be clear, there will be no games shown on Channel 4. All Big Ten games not picked up by the primary broadcasters (ABC and ESPN in football, CBS and ESPN in basketball) will only appear on the Big Ten Network.

— Big Ten games will no longer appear on ESPN’s two pay-per-view packages, Game Plan (football) or Full Court (basketball). Those were popular options for fans who lived out of the Big Ten area or the true junkies who wanted to catch games from around the conference.

— Dish Network, the popular satellite option that doesn’t have a stake in this (DirecTV has already opted to place the Big Ten Network on its basic package, mostly because it is, like 49 percent of the new network, owned by News Corp.), is not nearing a deal with the Big Ten. You know how contentious talks have been with Comcast, but it was Dish that filed a 19-page complaint with the FCC about  the new networks’ “insistence on unreasonable terms, including rates that are far above market, and its demand for nationwide carriage.”

— Lost in all this talk of business deals is an honest discussion of what, exactly, the Big Ten Network will actually be. There will be a nightly studio show, a sort of SportsCenter for the Big Ten. There is the possibility of having other studio shows — coach’s shows or interview shows with athletes, etc. — but nothing has been set yet. According to Indiana media relations director J.D. Campbell, each school will have some measure of control over their own on-campus studio and what it produces. He says hosting coach’s shows for Bill Lynch and Kelvin Sampson could happen, but nothing has been set yet.

The Big Ten will also broadcast other live events. According to men’s soccer coach Mike Freitag, three of his team’s home games will be broadcast. Those games — against UCLA in September and Ohio State and Penn State in October — have all been moved to Sunday at 3 p.m. He believes that time slot will regularly show soccer.

Ok, that’s a good bit of it. There’s more, but I’d like to understand the concerns and questions you guys have. Doug and I, since we generally receive press credentials to these games, are maybe not as concerned as the average consumer about what’s happening. And we’re also buried in mounds of information and hearing a lot of talk from both sides.

So, any questions or concerns, post ’em here. We’ll find an answer.


  1. – Just to be clear, there will be no games shown on Channel 4. All Big Ten games not picked up by the primary broadcasters (ABC and ESPN in football, CBS and ESPN in basketball) will only appear on the Big Ten Network.

    That is what is really sad. That was what made IU Basketball so great. Channel 4, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance commercials. The janitor pushing the broom through the halls whistling the fight song. Little things from my childhood that everyone remembers. The sense of pride you had when you heard “Indiana, Our Indiana” being whistled on the TV. These are things that are lost forever. A sense of pride I don’t think our kids will ever know.

    Now my questions, since ESPN and CBS has first rights to what Basketball games they want, is there any guarentee that the Big Ten Network will get any IU games?

    How do we know the games not picked up by ESPN and CBS won’t be on at the same time two other Big Ten teams play, and we still don’t see the IU game?

  2. Mike, IU will definitely be on the Big 10 Network. Games that were on ESPN + will now be on the Big 10 Network. I would guess that 1/2 of our games will be on national TV as usual, but the other half will be on BTN.

    By the way, you can watch the janitor lady singing the fightsong on YouTube.

  3. Mike,

    IU Jimmy is on target with his answer. Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman anticipates 10-14 of Indiana’s games will be passed on by CBS and ESPN and end up on the new network.

    After that, the network is apparently going to do whatever it can to avoid too much overlap of games. That could mean you see a different schedule format this season, with games spread through out the week. And you’ll likely see different game starting times, especially on weekends, to spread out the coverage.

    Ultimately, there will be some overlap and in those instances the Network will have the ability to regionalize its coverage, sending Indiana games to the areas it deems to be full of Indiana fans.

    Also, any cable or satellite provider who picks up the network has the option of broadcasting simultaneous games on overflow channels.

    Hope that helps.


  4. One thing that I think has gotten lost in all this is the fact that I’m finally going to be able to watch all the IU games I would otherwise miss when I visit the in-laws. No matter where you are in the midwest, there’s an extremely good chance that you’ll have a chance of seeing IU play. Isn’t that what visiting the in-laws is all about?

  5. Thanks IUJimmy and Chris. Like my question asked, there is NO GUARENTEE that the Big Ten Network will get those games. They only anticipate those open games. Bottom line is I want to make sure I have the network, I don’t want to be out looking in.

  6. As I said in an earlier post, what is really lost is the fact that we need to look at the Big 10 Network as a savior instead of the enemy right now. I understand we all want to see the BTN at launch, but most of us are diehard IU basketball fans so we have some time. Don’t forget about Hep…we need to fill the Rock and not sit at home watching the football games on TV. Also, you could tell in the past few years the amount of games going to ESPNU and ESPN360. IU FB played MINN on the internet (which nobody got) and IU MBB played the Boilers on ESPNU last year (which nobody got). ESPN was making money off IU games, but nobody could watch them. Let’s give the Big 10 Network a break. They are cuttin out the 3rd party and making money off of their schools and sending it right back to them. Saw yesterday Kelvin is the hgihest paid employee at IU…we need money to keep him here! North endzone project – $55 million…we need money to make that happen. MBB practice facility, other facilities, etc., cost more money. Regardless of when the Big 10 Network gets on the air, IU’s getting 7 million from it each year for 20 years. Not so sure we can call the Network an enemy for that!

  7. I couldn’t agree more with the comments from CnC. First of all, I think the Big Ten was forced into this decision by ESPN’s moves over the last several years. Though the Network was already in the works, placing the Purdue game on ESPNU last year really brought home what the future would have been with ESPN ruling the roost.

    With the Big Ten Network, you’ll still have access to all the basketball games that you’ve seen in the past, with the added kicker of a nightly studio show, more in-depth coverage, coaches’ shows, etc.

    Plus, for baseball and soccer fans like myself, we’ll have unprecedented coverage of sports like that.

    I think the burden is on IU fans like us to make sure the cable companies understand where we’re coming from.

  8. Looks like (we IU Fans) are going to get screwed again. I live out of state and got to watch most of the games on cable or big 59 on my outside antenna, but no more, it’s all about money, wonder what makes people go crazy?

    GO IU

  9. CnC – I agree with everything you said, except IU-Purdue I think was on ESPN360, cause I have had ESPNU on my digital. I was at the IU-Purdue game, so I don’t remember what channel it was on. I was also at the IU-Wisc game, so I am not sure.

  10. I must say that this is boiling down to greed and Delaney once again creating a poor situation for fans (see D1 football playoffs). Not being able to get Big Ten games on the ESPN package is flat out wrong. I live in TN and Comcast will not have the Big Ten network here — hell, the jerks at CBS won’t even show the national Big Ten games here. So now what — Direct TV?! If it comes to that I will switch to see IU (Direct TV smart, Comcast not so much)

  11. here is a link to the B10Network home page; there is a box where you can enter your zip code and find out about local carriers in your area. if it is not avaialble, you can send an e-mail to your carrier and request it. I did it in less than 3 minutes. I suggest we all do this and let them know that this is a serious matter and that there are many, many of us out here who want this channel (and are willing to pay for it, too!).

  12. This is bull$&*!. Somthing needs to be worked out with Channel 4. I’m so sick of people whose only and top priority is swelling their to watch college ball?? Screw you.

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