Comcast agreed to launch the conference network on expanded basic through most of the Big Ten Conference’s eight-state region, as much as 94 percent of it, according to one source. Previously, Comcast was adamant against launching on expanded basic to a such a wide area. Meanwhile, Big Ten Network relaxed its demand to launch the channel on expanded basic everywhere in the eight-state market. The channel will allow Comcast the flexibility to place it on digital basic in various markets within the footprint, including Philadelphia.
BTN made a similar concession with Insight, which allowed the cable operator to launch it on digital basic in Louisville, Ky., on the outskirts of what BTN originally considered its inner core market.
While it looks like Comcast is getting the win — after all, the Big Ten Network’s original pitch was that it deserved to be alongside ESPN and Comcast Sports Net as basic programming for everyone — the bottom line is that IU fans will be able to see games they’ve missed this year. That’s no doubt a good thing, even if you’re stuck paying for 12 or 14 extra channels you’ll never use once.