Big Ten Conference profiting from tax payers

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Jim Delany, commissioner of the Big Ten Conference and the member schools decided to create a cable TV network to showcase the conference’s cash cows – football and basketball games.

Exclusive television deals aren’t unusual. Notre Dame has had an exclusive deal with NBC for many years to broadcast its football games each fall. What is different is that the Big Ten Network (BTN) will be on cable and no local broadcast stations will be able to show games slated for the BTN.

The network is slated to start on August 30th but as of now BTN only has coverage on 20% of the cable audience available in the conference’s region. One of major cable providers in Ohio – Time Warner – has refused to carry the channel.

The problem is that not only does BTN want to charge $1.10 per subscriber but also is insisting that cable providers put the channel on Basic cable. The cable providers say that BTN is a niche channel – that only a limited number of people would be interested and so it should be on a sports tier where fans would pay extra.

Delany and BTN President Mark Silverman countered:

…it’s ridiculous to banish BTN to a sports tier when channels such as Versus, the Golf Channel and Sports Time Ohio—not to mention Food Network, Animal Planet and HGTV—have homes on expanded basic.

“There’s already niche networks all over expanded basic,” Delany said. “I get 70 channels at home, and I watch about 12 of them.”

Playing Defense: Jim Delany knows if you can’t watch the Buckeyes, he’ll get the blame

I don’t have a problem with the conference having a TV deal because such deals pass on funding to all member schools. I do think that such schools, a majority state supported, should not be allowed to put their games on cable TV. Such games should be available, for free, on TV.

I help pay for the programs through my tax dollars and I am being asked to pay for cable to see the games.


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2 thoughts on “Big Ten Conference profiting from tax payers

  1. Wallace

    "I do think that such schools, a majority state supported, should not be allowed to put their games on cable TV."

    So you don't believe any state schools at all should have their teams play on ESPN either? I'll assume you have felt this sort of outcry then long before the Big Ten network was created since ESPN the CABLE netwrok has been airing state college athletics for a long time. Same with Fox Sports Net. And Comcast. And so on down the line.

  2. Doug Berger

    I have always felt that state schools shouldn't be allowed to have games on cable.

    ESPN also has regional sports shown on broadcast channels. It use be called Raycom Sports.

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