Big Ten Network-comcast

It’s not just the Pac-12 Networks that are running into carriage issues. On Thursday, the news began spreading that Comcast had dropped the Big Ten Network in numerous states that didn’t have Big Ten schools, with initial reports saying further drops were coming. As per a comment The Athletic Detroit writer Brendan Quinn got from Comcast, though, the cable company says there are no plans to drop the network from in-market areas:

Now, a big question there is what exactly counts as a “Big Ten state.” In particular, New York does not have a Big Ten team in the state, but the conference has been heavily focused on that market with the addition of Rutgers (in New Brunswick, New Jersey) and decisions like playing the conference basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden (even if that screwed up their whole schedule). But, as per a further tweet from Quinn, Comcast does not consider NY in-market:

That’s also potentially problematic with Maryland, which was brought in with the intention of picking up the D.C. TV market, which includes DC proper as well as parts of Maryland and Virginia. If Comcast sticks directly to that comment, subscribers in DC and Virginia may not be able to watch BTN.

But this is a big deal beyond that, as the Big Ten has plenty of alumni everywhere, and as the Big Ten Network (unlike many competing league networks) actually has some solid football and basketball games that people will tune in for. (It also has a longer history than most league networks, and many have grown accustomed to watching it.) It’s understandable why the official Big Ten Network Twitter is already taking a stance against this:

It should also be noted that Comcast didn’t draw much attention to this:

As with so many carriage battles, though, this will only really matter when important content comes up. And with a college sports network, the next really big thing is football this fall. Maybe BTN and Comcast will work out a deal by then and this will all be forgotten.

If not, though, this could be a major setback for the network if Comcast doesn’t pick it back up, or a major setback for Comcast if enough out-of-market viewers care enough about this channel to switch providers.

[Brendan Quinn on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.