After a week without the Big Ten Network and on the heels of two short one week extensions, it appears that Dish and BTN have come to a long term deal. Below is the release we got from Elizabeth Conlisk , who must be thrilled she won't have to send out media communications at 4am every Saturday morning.
STATEMENT FROM BTN
REGARDING THE STATUS OF PROGRAMMING NEGOTIATIONS
September 22, 2012
"Big Ten Network (BTN) and Dish have reached an agreement that returns BTN to the Dish channel lineup. We’re pleased that both sides could eventually come together, and we thank fans for their patience."
It's not clear if this was another short term extension or a long term deal, but we're thinking given BTN pulled the channel last week after what they percieved as stalling, this could be the real deal both sides have been working towards. It's also unclear if Big Ten Network will be made available on more basic packages across Dish or if it will remain in a sports tier.
Earlier today we predicted a deal was possible for today's games and was probable by next week, when conference games got underway. Not being too far apart in negotiations seemed to compel Dish to move fast and avoid further customer loss.
In additon to the temporary loss of BTN, Dish was also without AMC in addition to central Ohio CBS affiliate meaning Ohio State fans would not only miss their game Saturday but would miss Browns and Begals action as well which was likely going to lead to significant customer loss.
Another thing that likely played a role here is the fact that Dish shocked many industry pundits by adding Pac 12 Network ahead of DirecTV who now seems content to dig in for a prolonged battle. While Dish was potentially adding some DirecTV customers who wanted the Pac 12 Network, they were probably losing the same amount of customers because of the spat with the Big Ten Network. Now with both channels, Dish has an advantage in college sports and may get a nice bump in adding customers.
It will be interesting to see if DirecTV matches this move in the weeks to come by adding the Pac 12 Network so that Dish doesn't own a programming advantage.
Overall, it's a big day for sports fans with Bright House and Time Warner adding the NFL Network in one of the most prolonged stalemates we've ever seen and now Dish re-upping with BTN.
We're well aware that cable and satelitte companies are hating having their margins pinched by sports channels, but at the end of the day they're a huge passion point for too many people to try to boycott. Kudos to both sides as missing only one week of mostly lackluster games isn't too shabby at all.