Seeking comments on not being able to watch IU basketball games on cable

We’re working on a story on how the ongoing standoff between the Big Ten Network and Insight/Comcast will affect IU basketball fans who are cable TV subscribers in the Herald-Times circulation area. We’d like your thoughts on the situation.

Here’s the situation at this point. With the Big Ten Network still not available on Insight cable, unless there is an unexpected breakthrough in negotiations soon, the two exhibition games against North Alabama (this Sunday at noon) and UNC Pembroke will not be available on Insight cable. And then, the first five regular season games will also not be available on Insight cable.

In all – including the two exhibition games – only two of IU’s 14 preconference games will be available on regular cable. The Georgia Tech game on Nov. 27 will be on ESPN and the Kentucky game on Dec. 8 will be on CBS. Other than those two, 10 of IU’s games before the conference season will be on the Big Ten Network (not available on local cable) and one, the Southern Illinois game on Dec. 1, will be on ESPNU, which is available on Insight only if you’ve purchased its Sports tier.

IU’s Big Ten opener at Iowa also will not be on cable TV locally, but then the situation improves with 10-13 of the final 18 regular season games available on what is expected to be Comcast at that point, after we have a switch from Insight to Comcast as the Bloomington-area cable provider in January.

So how do you feel about 16-19 of Indiana’s 36 regular season games not being available on cable? Will you switch to a satellite system to get the games or have you already? Will you go to a bar to watch many of the games? Or maybe you’ll listen to them on radio? Who do you hold responsible for the situation getting to this point?

If you live in the H-T circulation area and would like to share your thoughts for our story, please send them to me in an e-mail to Please include your first and last name, your address and your telephone number. We won’t publish your address or phone number, but we need them to verify that you’re really who you say you are.

For all you Hoosier fans who live somewhere else or who don’t want your thoughts published in the newspaper, post your comments here.


  1. Doug, did you copy off of Hutchen’s latest blog??? (just kidding… but not really)

    Anyways, you should do some investigating into AT&T U-verse. It is available in various Indianapolis locations, and its the only cable tv & internet alternative that carries the BTN. So it’s a logical replacement for Comcast and Insight. I’ve heard AT&T is coming to Bloomington soon. I’m sure if they came there within the next month they’d steal a ton of Insight’s business. Someone needs to contact AT&T and see what their plans are for Monroe County expansion. This would help out IU fans a lot. (also, for me, its cheaper by $20/mth than Comcast AND there’s a lot more channels) Good luck!

  2. <p><p>Jeff, I haven’t seen Hutch’s latest blog post. I take it he’s also writing about the BTN situation (maybe it’s that great minds …. nah). With the first game arriving Sunday and it not being on cable locally, it’s a pretty obvious topic we have to tackle.</p></p>

  3. Since I live in an extremely wooded neighborhood, I am forced to go with Comcast or nothing. I thought monopolies were outlawed. Comcast is terrible, the service, the HD picture, etc.

    However, I blame the BTN for these troubles. They are bringing a new product to market. If their customers, Comcast, etc., choose to sell that product in a way other than the one prescribed by the BTN, that is their choice.

    As a manufacturer, if I cannot get my product to market, it’s my fault.

  4. I’ve already made the switch to DISHTV. While I know that reception can be bad during certain weather situations, it makes sense as it is $35 per month less than what I current spent on Insight.

    As far as who is to blame….it should be placed more on the BTN as they seem to think their product is worth more than it really is….I mean other than basketball games, I can feel fairly confident saying that a large majority of people won’t be watching the other sporting events.

  5. I feel the BTN isn’t to blame they want to step in and offer a package at a affordable rate and mandate this in the package. Dish and Direct TV have been able to do this why is Insight/Comcast not able to. Also why does Insight have the BTN in other markets and not ours? It’s bad thata company that advertives its local roots cannot offer IU games. I count on cable to be local that’s why I don’t have a dish. But might get one now!

  6. i am going to be listening to iu basketball a lot on the radio this season. which is allright but it would be better to see it on tv.

    jeremy williams.

  7. I say it is the university’s fault. They signed a contract with a network that had no market in the local area. What were they thinking? Obviously, not about their fans.

    Now, if you want to tackle the fight between insight and btn, I side with btn. The only sports I really watch is IU Baskteball. I do not want to pay extra money to see 2 games a week. I’ll be eating at Nick’s or Applebees a lot. 🙂

  8. I am a current insight customer, and have had two different conversations with insight customer service reps regarding this. The only reason I switched from Direct TV to Insight, was to receive a better deal by having my internet and phone together. I called and spoke to a direct tv rep and their basic monthly charge for their basic tv with the big ten network is approximately 40.00 versus the 50.00 I pay for basic insight tv service. When I spoke to an insight rep they were defensive and said that it wasnt fair that the Big Ten is now charging their fans to watch the games, which I agree 100%. The rep went on to say that if Insight offers the Big Ten Network then they would charge their clients more for the service.

    In my opinion Insight needs to do what they need to do to get this resolved or they are going to loose a CONSIDERABLE amount of business in Bloomington to the Satelitte companies. Also if Insight is already charging approx. 10.00 more for the same service one could get with a satelitte service, then I do not think it is fair or makes good business sense to charge more for the big ten network.

  9. Growing up I was fortunate to be able to watch all the games on channel 4. Life revolved around IU basketball. You were on such a high when they won and when they lost, everyone you’d meet the next day seemed to be in a sour mood.

    I’m not really familiar with the issues around this. The IU campus cable TV has the Big Ten Network. It seemed like when IU basketball was the most marketable, winning championships, it was televised free. Now that things have been down a bit, you have to pay for it. I’ll probably attend a lot of local high school games and listen to the radio if its convenient…

  10. Doug, I know that AT&T U-Verse is already available in some areas of Bloomington. I am currently an Insight customer and am just waiting for U-Verse to be available in my area. To me U-Verse would be the only option for me because it does not require you to have a land based telephone.

    It is an absolute shame that Insight/Comcast is doing this to people. I check the BTN website daily for video and it seems that they are doing some great things for the Big Ten schools. I am an IU Baseball fan and cannot wait to see some of their away games televised on the BTN. Something needs to be done with this or in my opinion Insight/Comcast is going to lose a large customer base, very quickly.

  11. This is one more example of how the IU administration is letting the chase of athletic dollars negatively effect the university’s overall brand. The Big Ten sucked each school into the vision of big bucks coming in from the new network. The allure of these dollars clearly became much more important to IU’s leadership then doing right by their fans (and future fans). To not have a deal that insured television access to so many Hoosiers in the university’s backyard is shameful and short-sighted.

  12. This is a much larger problem than your reporting will indicate. It relates to ALL of Indiana. Northwest Indiana, where I now live, is ruled mostly by Comcast, so those subscribers will have no access to IU basketball, even from BTN. Probably, most college b-ball fans here are IU or PU fans. Those who don’t have Directv, Dish, and the small areas that have ATT or Verizon (and are willing to pay BTN’s extra charge) will not be watching any IU basketball this season, excepting the two games that are to be televised on CBS and ESPN. What a travesty that nearly all of NW Indiana will be locked out from IU Basketball games. How is any of this, particularly the creation of this rip-off BTN, good for IU sports?

  13. Tyler, a couple of people have mentioned AT&T U-Verse to me recently. I’ll look into that and include it in our coverage of the options available.

  14. Thanks Doug. Hopefully with you and Hutch bringing this issue to the forefront AT&T will be able to fulfill IU fans’ needs and expand.

    Tyler, do you know where exactly you can get AT&T in Bloomington? Thx.

  15. We likewise have switched from Insight to Dish Network, and we love it. We didn’t switch necessarily to get the BTN, but the price is lower for extra service, the attitude is not nearly so arrogant, and we don’t have to put up with the trash broadcast by the Bloomington library channels.

  16. This whole thing is such a MESS. Is THIS what it means to be an ELITE program? (Get it…elite…?) My kids grew up WATCHING most IU basketball games on local TV (and were even allowed to stay up late on some school nights). Some of us can go to a sports bar to watch games — that’s if the establishment has not already reached maximum occupancy before we arrive….. Where can the kids go to see a game?

    Would it ever be possible to open up Assembly Hall for folks to SEE an away game on the big screens? Or would that violate NCAA regulations or our contract with Learfield Sports? We may need to get creative in order to allow the Hoosier Faithful to see this team play on any regular basis. Is it permissible to show (share) the game in a public space, if you have DirecTV or DISH?

    Speaking of Assembly Hall, with so MANY people grumbling about not being able to see IU games, I do hope to SEE all the seats in Assembly Hall filled…..EVERY game. True Hoosier fans SHOW UP! Attendance for IU Basketball has been rather embarrassing in the past several years (yes, even when Koach was still employed at IU….)

  17. I feel true sport fans already pay for the sports package that Insight offers, I have to if I want to watch certain NFL games on the NFL network, (especially Thanksgiving evening when the colts play at Atlanta), so come on BTN there is plenty of money out there waiting for you on the Insight sports package!!

  18. I’m a Bloomington resident and I’m in the process of leaving Insight and finding the best option between DishNetwork, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse.

  19. I switched from cable to DirecTV without hesitation. I’ve seen every IU football game this fall, and how about Michigan-Appalachian State on the BTN! I’m looking forward to basketball starting tomorrow. DirecTV is less expensive than my old cable.

    The only drawback is I still can’t figure out how to program my VCR to tape. 🙂

  20. I blame both the Big 10 Network (Big 10 Conference included) and the cable (Insight – Comcast). Nobody took Bloomington into account. We had a basketball network before ESPN of the Big 10 Network. Now, I have to make a decision to change my service provider. I am sitting on the fence, but am angry at all the big players – Cable, Conference and new Network.

    I would like to try att uverse, like my sons have done in Indy, but it isn’t available here yet. I have plenty of trees on the southwest side of the house so will have to let the Dish/Direct tech see if that will work.

    All in all this is frustrating, but I’m leaning more toward changing within the next week to 10 days.

    Thanks for asking!

  21. I think Comcast is being narrow minded about making the BTN only available on a sports tier therefore the cable customers have to pay extra to get IU games. NOT FAIR!!!!! I can’t stand the way the negotiations have been handled by both sides so if they want to like BIG BABIES so be it!! They can have each other!! Comcast has given much thought to its future customers that they serve and should find ways to keep them but it doesn’t seem that way by their lack of give and take in the negotiations. GREED! GREED! AND MORE GREED is all I can see from the whole matter. I’m planning to find a restaurant that carries the BTN therefore BTN and Comcast won’t have my money directly instead let the eatery establishment have it!!!

  22. To the person of post# 18 who said they need the NFL Network to get the Colts game you fell right into the NFL’s lying trap.

    The NFL will not tell you this but actually in the Indianapolis TV Market you do not NEED the NFL Network to view the Colts game. All Broadcasts on the NFL Network are simulcast in the participating teams local market on a Broadcast Network. In the Colts case it will be on WNDY which is available either with an antenna or on all Insight packages on channel 10.

    In regards to the Big Ten Network it is 100% Comcast’s fault.

    However as a student living in a dorm it is available on IU Campus Cable TV which serves all dorms, academic buildings and the Indiana Memorial Union here on the IU campus.

  23. The Comcast commercials make me so mad I change
    the channel. No matter whether this is Comcast’s fault,
    BTN’s fault or the fault of the universities who signed
    on the dotted like without being sure fans could have
    ready access to the telecast, it is totally unfair to loyal
    IU fans. Why can’t Comcast offer it even at a price?
    Then those who don’t want it won’t take it. And those
    who do will pay for it.
    This is what happens when companies become monopolies and universities don’t do their research
    for the fans.

  24. I am already irate with the lack of NFL games available on comcast this year (even big games played nearby like CIN vs PIT are not televised while 2 different stations generally broadcast the IND game).

    Now that I know about the BTN issue (regardless of who is at fault), it is the last straw. I will switch to DISH or AT&T (if it is available — please let them know we need a good HD alternative in bloomington!)

  25. After posting my thoughts about insight I thought I might post a message on their website making them aware of what we the readers have to say about this whole mess with insight, comcast and the BTN. This is what they had to say…..

    This is not an Insight decision. Negotiations for your local Insight inCentral Indiana and Illinois is being handled by Comcast.

    They also gave the websites listed below to voice a complaint admugst a larger base of peope as well…

    I agree with what other people have said. What are families going to do that have kids that want to watch Big Ten sports, Comcast doesnt care how much it would cost a family to go to a resturant to watch the games. This is a monolpy in every way.

  26. We’ve already switched to Direct TV so that we could get the BTN. The Comcast argument that it’s not fair to charge people for something that they won’t watch is LAME! Why is FSN on there then? How about all the other lame channels I don’t watch, but still pay for so that I can watch the channels I do want to watch. Comcast is awful- we had so many problems once it switched from Insight to Comcast. See ya Comcast!

  27. Surely for as large a company as Insight/Comcast is they could come to an agreement with BTN. Everyone else has. I do not understand why they are so willing to lose their customers (long and short term) all because they are so concerned that BTN will make more money than them. Let the consumers decide what they want to watch. They will lose more customers and money by not coming to an agreement. We live in a town with a BIG TEN school and can NOT get our LOCAL CABLE MONOPOLY to listen to their customers and give us what we want. Sorry but i think the fault is with INSIGHT/COMCAST. THANKS FOR NOTHING INSIGHT/COMCAST GLAD TO KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS COME LAST!

  28. I contacted Insight to see what they could do about the BTN situation. When I told them I was considering switching to direct TV, the person I was speaking with became VERY indignant. I hung the phone up on them and called Direct TV. For me, it has been the best move. The cost is about the same but my picture clarity has improved dramatically and my channel selection is much broader. I have seen all IU football games and will enjoy seeing basketball as well. With the way I was treated by Insight, I would never go back to them and they deserve all that they get.

  29. as an employee of Comcast, I must say that this whole deal is ultimately the fault of IU. Alumni, quit donating to voice you disapproval. The university received large kickbacks for signing that deal with BTN. Don’t blame the cable companies.

    For the record, I had Dish Network installed about a month ago.

    Not disgruntled, just adapting.

  30. I place the blame for this mess clearly on the Big Ten. Things were fine before the BTN came along, but there IS a mess after the BTN was created.
    Seems obvious who is to blame.

  31. It amazes me how many people answer that have no clue to the issues. Comcast wants to offer the BTN on their sports tier so that only those that want it pay for it. BTN insists that Comcast charge every customer extra money weather the customer wants the BTN or not. That is just crazy. I’d buy the BTN on a sports tier, but I’d hate to pay for the follow up PAC 8, Big 12, SEC and MAC, Big West, etc. networks that they will also have to charge us for if they let the BTN have their way!The BTN is obviously way out of their league here. The have no concept of how to market a respectable pregram. What on earth makes them think they can charge more then the NFL Network? But yet they seem to think they can get a few fans to bully the cable companies. It won’t happen folks.

  32. Its comcasts greed that is showing here They give us all these B.S channels and not the BTN. I mean would there be this up roar if they took away the Hallmark channel or LOGO? NO!!!! I switched to Direct tv so I don’ t have to worry about it and i suggest everyone else that like Big Ten sports do the same!

  33. Jeff- I know that people down by Batchelor Middle School and some folks in the 47401 area can get AT&T U-Verse. I just recently switched to AT&T Dish Network. Definitely cheaper than Insight and it includes internet.

    I cannot wait for the abilitiy to watch the BTN. I mean in the short time span that it has been around, there have been some great games on it. (Michigan vs. App. St. FB, Michigan St. and Ohio St. getting beat in BB) I think that the majority of the blame here falls on Comcast/Insight but I am sure that the BTN is not innocent.

  34. While I agree that both BTN and Comcast are at fault, the fact is that only BTN is giving their customers an alternative. Both sides are holding the line, but only BTN has the ultimate leverage, as they offer the alternative of Dish Network, AT&T U-verse, or DirecTV, which I signed up for last week.

    Walt, the fact is that Comcast is trying to tell its customers what they want. In business, that is the number one mistake. BTN is willing to negotiate the tier package outside the Midwest, where Comcast’s customers overwhelmingly support adding the BTN. For Comcast to tell its customers that HGTV, Home Shopping Network and Versus are in more demand than the BTN is unethical and just bad business.

    I only want to work with a company who wants to work with me, and DirecTV is committed to its customers.

  35. I can’t believe they didn’t settle this sooner. I mean i have always hated missing any IU game because of other thgins going on or work, but to miss them because i just can’t watch them is absurd. I hope these cable companies realize that Indiana is the heart of basketball country and not getting to watch my IU games is worse than not getting to watch any other sport or any other team in the world. I am pissed. If I would have been informed of this I would not get cable, and if there is no conclusion to this I’ll probably get dish when i can afford to, since i just paid $120 to get insight installed for no reason.

  36. Unbelievable,
    I started by searching the guide for the IU home opener and have now ended up here. It is rediculous that I can’t even buy an opprotunity to watch a game, let alone be able to watch it as part of my $70.00 cable bill. It is unacceptable to not be able to watch my IU so I guess I will have to switch to satelite, cue additional problems and missing features such as On Demand which I love. As for whoever is responsible for this you should be fired and ashamed, I am sure you are making more money than the average hardworking fan and definetly more than the players. Enjoy your profits.

  37. I just signed up yesterday for DirectTV and am canceling my Insight TV (keeping Internet access, though — I like my wireless setup too much to give up).

    I was able to schedule installation for Tuesday morning, Nov. 20, in time for Tuesday night’s game which I’ll be able to watch in HD!!

    I doubt if Insight-soon-to-be-Comcast will ever get me back. They blew it!

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