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Big Ten Network: Reach PA First

One of the major selling points of Big Ten expansion has been the potential of increased TV revenues due to the subsequent expanded reach of the Big Ten Network. The Big Ten owns 51% of the Big Ten Network and the revenue it gets from subscription fees and advertising is split between all the schools in the conference. With the network paying rights fees of $66 million last year, each school in the Big Ten was cut a $6 million dollar check for the 2009 year. You can read more about the Big Ten Network’s role in the expansion by reading this article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

But that’s not really the point of this post. What I’m worried about today is that while the increased revenue the Big Ten athletics programs would see is a good thing, shouldn’t states that already have universities in the Big Ten right now have access to the network first?

As of right now, only 83% of Pennsylvanians have access to the Big Ten Network through their cable providers. This is the lowest percentage among states that have a Big Ten school within their bounds, according to Jeff Nelson, Football Sports Information Director.

Nelson noted to us in an email that:

There are a combined total of more than 34,000 Penn State alumni who live in communities served by the three providers, in addition to thousands more current Penn State students and fans.

That’s 34,000 Penn Staters unable to watch our Nittany Lions compete or listen to our Dear Leader Graham spit wisdom on “Expert Opinion”. There are also a minimum of 60 hours dedicated to campus programming and Penn State has far exceeded that with the number of student-produced shows that have shown up on the network.

So who are these holdouts, the networks depriving alums of the Big Ten Network’s schedule of sports and other programming? The three main cable providers not carrying the Big Ten Network are Armstrong, Blue Ridge and Metrocast. Talks have stalled many times with these providers, likely due to disagreements about what type of package the channel would be part of, a problem that has recurrent in negotiations with other providers.

If you live in an area without the Big Ten Network, or even if you have it and just can’t stand that your fellow citizens of the Nittany Nation don’t, there are two things you can do. The first is to contact your cable provider and tell them that you want the BTN. Contact information can be found below. The second thing you can do is switch. If you can’t switch to another cable provider in your area, both DirecTV and Dish Network offer the channel in their plans. Any Big Ten fan (or sports fan, for that matter) should not be able to live without the Big Ten Network and this is the way for that 17% to get it.

Cable Company Contact Information

Armstrong Cable: 1-724-283-0925 and 1-877-277-5711

Blue Ridge Cable: 1-610-826-2551, 1-800-222-5377 or local payment center

Metrocast Cable: 1-570-802-5642 and 1-800-633-8578

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About the Author

Dan Vecellio

Dan is a graduate student in meteorology, hailing from Bradford, Pennsylvania. His interests include sports, Penn State and commons cheesesteaks. Feel free to contact me through my email or follow me on Twitter.

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