Comcast 'Unlikely' to Carry Big Ten Network at Launch
Aug. 24, 2007
Fox Cable Networks today predicted that it will not be able to reach a distribution agreement with Comcast Communications to carry Big Ten Network prior to the Aug. 30 launch. Fox, as a partner of the Big Ten Conference in Big Ten Network, has the lead role in negotiating carriage agreements on the network's behalf.
"This is a decision that Comcast has every right to make, and we respect it, but we're greatly disappointed," Thompson added. "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. They know it to be false because we have proposed a lower rate to them, and still they choose to confuse consumers by saying we won't budge."
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said, "It's unfortunate but clear that Comcast refuses to negotiate and would rather devote its energy to confusing the public. I have to believe that focusing our attention on more productive negotiations with other operators is the right thing to do."
Big Ten Network officially launches Thursday, Aug. 30 with the inaugural telecast of BIG TEN TONIGHT, the network's signature studio-based news, information and highlights show, chronicling the athletes, events and other activities from around the Big Ten's eleven Midwest campuses. The official launch comes two days before Big Ten Network kicks off its game coverage with a six game schedule on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Big Ten Network currently has carriage commitments with approximately 100 smaller Midwest cable operators, as well as national providers DIRECTV and AT&T. It remains in productive discussions with the majority of the nation's five largest cable operators.