I want my BTN.

Perhaps we’re about to find out if Jim Delany is a much a marketing genius as he thinks he is.

The fact that Maryland and Rutgers are joining the Big Ten Conference doesn’t guarantee that their games will be on the Big Ten Network. In fact, several of their games may not be available locally at all — TV or broadband — when they kick off their Big Ten seasons in 2014.

Maryland and Rutgers face the possibility of having at least two football games and at least 15 basketball games go untelevised locally when they join the conference in a year and a half.

That’s because the Big Ten Conference is looking into a strategy that could keep all Maryland and Rutgers games — encompassing all sports — off of the Big Ten Network unless local distributors place the channel on an expanded basic tier. The Big Ten used that strategy successfully in Nebraska last year when the Cornhuskers joined the conference, and the conference is expected to use it again in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers join.

That’s a strategy built on the premise that people in the New York and Washington, DC markets are as passionate about seeing a couple of college football games a year that ESPN passed on as people in Nebraska are.  Does that make sense to you?



Filed under Big Ten Football

15 responses to “I want my BTN.

  1. ThePetis

    Expanded basic tier? This is the tier ESPN, CNN, MTV, Comedy Central, etc. are on. Not going to happen… I know we’re aren’t the target DMA, but it’s not even on the digital tier in Atlanta. It’s on the sports tier.


  2. James

    Threatening Nebraska fans in Nebraska makes sense, logically, but the whole premise of adding UMD and RU was that, in combination with PSU, OSU and UM fans, you reach critical mass in these two new markets. I don’t see how this works unless they take all four of those schools of local distro in NY and DC. Not saying they won’t do that, but there’s no way taking 3rd tier RU games off of TVs in NYC wins you the NYC market. Same with Maryland in DC, although I can seem them getting some penetration in Baltimore suburbs by taking basketball hostage.


  3. PatinDC

    Removing MD football games from the DC/MD market is a positive not a negative. Good luck with that strategy.

    FWIW. We switched to FIOS and the basic cable included the BTN. I have never watched it , but in passing by on the guide, the only games it ever seems to have listed are Michigan/OSU.


    • Macallanlover

      I agree, I see miniscule leverage for MD in the metro areas of Wash/Bal/N.VA. I doubt there is much more for Rutgers, depsite them becoming more relevant in CFB the past few years. That is a huge population with a pretty small percentage of CFB fans in total, much less Rutgers’ fans. State Penn is, by far, the largest fanbase in that area, along with ND when they are decent. I don’t see either area forcing the Big Ten onto cable systems, although I have it on my Direct TV menu.


  4. stoopnagle

    Um, no.


  5. mike in orlando

    so, if rutgers and maryland are NOT on in the basic tier in their home areas yet still get the beau coup TV bucks promised by the big ten, hasn’t delany screwed up?


  6. Ted

    Maryland fans will get carriage when they realize Comcast won’t let them watch the basketball season, and the NY/NJ providers will do it because of the Yankees (Fox, 49% BTN owner, is buying a big stake of YES) plus a little Rutgers. This sound exactly like what people said doubting Delany’s baby BTN 5 years ago.


    • Go Dawgs!

      Ted, I wouldn’t be so sure about Maryland hoops. You can get a season ticket package at their sparkling new arena with no waiting list these days. The entire athletic department is in ruins.


  7. Go Dawgs!

    You know, I really feel bad for the few passionate Rutgers and Maryland fans because they’re getting screwed by the whole thing, not just this TV business. These idiots actually think that people care about Maryland football in similar numbers in these cable markets as people that care about Nebraska football? I’ve been both places, folks, and this is comparing apple orchards to a cup of apple Kool-Aid. And that’s why I hate TV executives and I’m glad to be out of the broadcasting industry… they think that just because something worked one place, it will work everywhere.

    Hey, Maryland, on top of your fan base’s general malaise and your years of dismal, losing football and the fact that you’re not going to be playing any rivalry games you now get to sell recruits on the fact that they won’t be on TV for two games. Good luck!


  8. Tronan

    Blacking out lacrosse will cause more of an uproar here (Baltimore) than blacking out college football. Ten years ago, blacking out basketball would have drawn a mob with pitchforks and torches. Now, probably not.


  9. Russ

    If MD and Rutgers play a game and no one sees it, does it still count?


  10. W Cobb Dawg

    If gtu were in the big 10+4, would anyone in ATL care if their games were broadcast? I don’t see much difference with rutgers in NY or maryland in DC. These are a couple teams that need thursday night games just for exposure – or nobody would know they exist. God help them if a redskins vs giants game was scheduled for the same thursday night as a rutgers-maryland matchup.


    • DawgPhan

      the real question is would the big ten network be able to add their channel fee to atlanta cable subscribers. Seems like something that folks in this area might object too…and wouldnt they need to add the subscribers to make taking tech an option?