There have been plenty of media developments out of this week’s various NCAA conference media days, from programming announcements for Big 12 Now to the broadcast lineup for the ACC Network to the SEC’s officiating Twitter account. The Big Ten’s media days started Thursday, and those also saw some notable media announcements from Big Ten Network, from Matt Millen’s return to the booth to changes coming to BTN streaming:
One note from BTN president Francois McGillicuddy: BTN2Go is going to cease to exist. All of BTN's streaming is going to the Fox Sports app.
— Jon Blau (@Jon_Blau) July 18, 2019
BTN2Go will receive an update in August and will be rebranded as BTN+. It will be a standalone direct-to-consumer subscription product for non-TV games (same as it is today), but will have its own platform instead of living within BTN2Go. Still available on FloSports as well. https://t.co/BAgTFObZHC
— Michael Calderon (@mcaldero74) July 18, 2019
So, BTN’s cable-authenticated streaming (BTN2Go) is going to migrate over to the Fox Sports app, which is part of the larger changes going on there. Following the closing of the Fox-Disney sale and the subsequent sale of the Fox regional sports networks to Sinclair, the Fox Sports and Fox Sports Go apps bifurcated; both used to offer both Fox cable (Fox, FS1, FS2, BTN) and RSN content, but Fox Sports Go is now RSN-only (and will probably be rebranded when those RSNs are inevitably rebranded under their new owners), and that RSN content doesn’t exist in the main Fox Sports app any longer. In fact, McGillicuddy said Fox is selling off the Fox Sports Go app (presumably to Sinclair), with that transaction set to close in August; that’s why BTN streaming is going to now be handled through the Fox Sports app instead.
On some levels, this may make things simpler. There’s now one destination for cable-authenticated BTN streaming (the Fox Sports app) and one for streaming on over-the-top subscription service BTN+ (which covers games not on TV and requires an extra subscription regardless of whether you have cable). And with BTN+ now the focus of that app, maybe that will incentivize BTN to find ways to improve and promote that service more. (It is a bit of a tough sell in some regards, as comparable SEC, ACC and Pac-12 products are included with a subscription to those networks, and much of the similar Big 12 and Group of Five content is included with ESPN+, which is $5 a month rather than the $9.99/month or $79.99/year price for BTN+ for one school or $14.95/month or $119.95/year for the whole conference) , but maybe they can find ways to make it better.) However, some have mentioned that BTN2Go offered a better streaming experience than Fox’s apps, so there are some laments out there for it. We’ll see how this streaming shift works out for BTN.