This is an IU blog (really!), but the Big Ten Network seems to be just about the only news relating to IU right now, so here goes. Teddy Greenstein's column in today's Chicago Tribune provides a little more info, and indicates that the Big Ten will be making some sort of formal announcement today. Here's what we know:
- The BTN nightly studio show, hosted by former ESPN anchor Dave Revsine, will launch on August 30 (that's the Thursday before college football begins.
- The BTN will announce deals with over 75 cable companies, but none of the big boys (Comcast, Time Warner, Insight, Dish) are on the list yet.
- There will be a Friday night "tailgate show" with live coverage from the sites of the next day's games. It's not clear whether that will happen every week or just the first week.
Greenstein also provides this information, which may have been reported before but if so, escaped me:
ABC Sports picks first each week. The BTN gets the second choice (ahead of ESPN)
in three of 12 weeks and the third choice three other weeks. In six weeks it picks fourth after ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.
That does suggest that the games on the BTN will be a bit higher profile than the typical ESPN Plus games in the past.
UPDATE: Here's the release. Nothing much new. August 30 is the official launch date for the network, not just the studio show. The list of the committed companies is interesting:
Some of the local systems planning to carry Big Ten Network as part of their expanded basic level of service include Altatec Alta Municipal Utility, Cedar Falls Utilities, Celect Communications, Consolidated Communications Network Services, City of Wadsworth Cable TV, Dixon Telephone Company, Grundy Center Municipal, Harlan Municipal Utilities, Hiawatha Broadband, Horizon Telecom, Independence Communications, Iowa Network Services, Mid-Century Communications, Moultrie Telecommunications, Muscatine Power & Water, Oneida Cablevision, Spencer Municipal Utilities, The Community Agency and USA Communications. In addition, Big Ten Network has national distribution agreements with DirectTV and the new AT&T U-verseSM service, as well as a major regional agreement with Buckeye Cable.
That's better than not having Harlan and Muscatine in the bag, I suppose. And as Grundy goes, so goes the nation. How many households are represented on that list. 500?