I Want My BTN
|Approximately 400,000 Iowans subscribe to Mediacom for their cable TV service, and Mediacom is one of the few cable companies that have still yet to strike a deal with the Big Ten Network. That means not only have many Iowa fans recently missed out on the great fall practice coverage from the Big Ten Network’s time in Iowa City recently, but Hawkeye football fans are now about a week away from missing actual games as well.|
Currently there are four Hawkeye games scheduled to air on the Big Ten Network, including the season opener next Saturday against Maine and the in-state rivalry with Iowa State on September 13th. Iowa’s second game with Florida International and the regular season finale at Minnesota are the other two. All other games on the Hawkeyes’ schedule have not been assigned as far as TV coverage goes, but fans can expect at least half of Iowa’s regular season games to be on BTN this fall if not more.
All that has been released by both sides in the ongoing negotiations are that they are still “negotiating”. Of course, Big Ten Network has been in talks with many cable companies since the network launched last summer. The BTN has reached deals with 230 different cable providers in 8 different states but unfortunately for Hawk fans Mediacom is not one of them. Apparently the main sticking point is the decision of where to place the Big Ten Network on Mediacom’s channel lineup. Mediacom wants to put BTN on its “Sports Tier” with CSTV, ESPNU, and other channels that subscribers could purchase for an extra $3.95 per month. The Big Ten Network is demanding that it be placed on Mediacom’s Basic Family plan with the likes of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic and Comcast Chicago or Fox Sports Midwest.
Many industry experts felt that a deal with Mediacom and Time Warner, one of the other bigger companies yet to reach an agreement, was near after BTN and Comcast agreed on a deal in June. Not only did the Big Ten Network agree to less money than they were originally asking (Comcast paid 70 cents per subscriber, BTN was asking $1.10/subscriber), but Comcast also has the option of shifting BTN to their digital tier after the 2008-09 basketball season. Most experts thought that other companies could use the agreement with Comcast, one of the largest cable companies in the US, as a template towards reaching their own deals. For whatever reason that has not been true with Mediacom and both sides have not been able to reach a compromise similar to the final agreement with Comcast.
It is obvious at this point that a deal with Mediacom will not be made in time for Hawkeye fans to see the season opener against Maine. It’s hard to even see a solution that would allow the 400,000+ Mediacom subscribers in Iowa to see the Iowa-Iowa State showdown. Instead of waiting for Mediacom to join the 230 other cable companies in offering Big Ten Network, Iowa fans do have options. Those options are DirecTV and Dish Network, both of which offer BTN in high definition. To make the switch and not miss a snap of Hawkeye football this year call DirecTV at 1-888-777-2454 or Dish Network at 1-888-825-2557. Trust us, you will wish you had done so earlier.