Comcast 'unlikely' to carry Big Ten Network at launch

August 24, 2007

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State fans served by Comcast Communications for their cable needs will not be able to see the Nittany Lions' opening game against Florida International on Sept. 1, or any other Big Ten contests on the network, unless they switch to another cable or satellite provider.

Fox Cable Networks, involved in launching the Big Ten Network, predicted it will not be able to reach a distribution agreement with Comcast to carry the Big Ten Network before the anticipated Aug. 30 launch of the new venture.

"The fact is that Comcast is unwilling to negotiate with us," said Bob Thompson, president of Fox National Cable Sports Networks, who is working closely with the Big Ten Network during its initial stages and is a member of the network's Board of Directors. "Anyone who lives in an area serviced by Comcast who wants to make sure they don't miss a game had better make alternative plans."

The Big Ten Network, dedicated to showcasing the nation's premier athletic and academic conference -- which includes Penn State -- has been negotiating with local cable operators to carry it in the eight-state footprint of the Big Ten schools. The network currently has carriage commitments with approximately 100 smaller cable operators, as well as national providers DIRECTTV and AT&T, and is in productive discussions with the majority of the nation's five largest cable operators.

Additionally, Penn State campus cable will carry the network, and numerous establishments in the State College area will have the network available. D&E Communications in State College and Lewisburg will carry the network as well.

"For many weeks now representatives of Big Ten Network have said that our initial asking price is negotiable, but Comcast operatives continue to portray our position on this as intractable, which is false," Thompson said. "We have proposed a lower rate to them, and still they choose to confuse consumers by saying we won't budge."

The official launch of the Big Ten Network begins with "Big Ten Tonight," a nightly studio show hosted by Dave Revsine, which will preview the upcoming season and closely examine all of the weekend's conference teams in action. The network will air more than 600 hours of Penn State programming during its inaugural year. The vast majority of Penn State's 29 varsity sports, if not all, will be featured on the Big Ten Network in 2007-08, in addition to at least 60 hours of institutional, non-athletic programming.

To get the Big Ten Network, fans should call 1-866-WANT-B10 and record a message or be patched through to their cable operator and request that the network be a part of their expanded basic package. Comcast customers should call 1-215-665-1700 to request the Big Ten Network.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009