Charter Communications is the only cable provider here in Madison. Comcast has a very large subscriber base as well in Big Ten territory. From the tone of this article it seems as though both sides (Big Ten Network vs. cable networks) are starting to pull out the heavy artillery.
I would like to break the article apart a bit and try to separate truth from...well...bullshit.
The conference and Comcast are at odds over the price of the new Big Ten Network and whether it should be offered on basic cable. And they're also feuding over the wording of a press release in which Comcast said the Big Ten network will show "second and third-tier sporting events," called it "a niche sports channel" and added: "Indiana basketball fans don't want to watch Iowa volleyball, but the Big Ten wants everyone to pay for their new network.
Yes, the BTN is probably asking too much for their new network. As I wrote before, a few people are definitely skirting around the big issue. The BTN is about football and men's basketball, period. ALL of the other sports COMBINED (men's and women's) don't account for a fraction of the revenue or ratings of those two sports. Practically nobody cares about who won the Big Ten Championship in volleyball, fencing, rowing, rugby, lacrosse, track, or (insert any other little sport here). There are some minor exceptions, such as the popularity of hockey here in Madison for UW, but in general, my theory stands about the "minor" sports. I am sorry if you happen to be a wrestler or on the tennis team for a Big Ten school. These are simply facts and we need to have them on the table to have a decent discussion about this thing. So the quote about Indiana basketball fans not wanting to watch Iowa volleyball is correct, but should read that Indiana basketball fans don't want to watch ANY volleyball at all, not just Iowa volleyball.
In the Midwest, when you're talking about a women's sports team, you talk about them with respect," Delany said. "They're not second tier. Certainly, games at Michigan and Penn State and Ohio State -- I don't care who the opponent is, those are not second-tier games.
This is simply laughable. I actually, literally laughed out loud when I read this statement. NOBODY cares about women's sports in general, especially minor sports like rowing, fencing, etc. I don't have anything against women's sports. The facts are that the vast majority of the sports viewing public just doesn't give two shits about who wins the women's basketball championship. Of course millions of people will turn in to view a number one seed in the men's basketball tournament play a sixteen seed, a team that amounts to be not much better than most high school state champions. I honestly think that the networks have the women's basketball selection show just to keep feminists and other women's rights groups off their asses. to summarize, Delaney should suck it up and just admit that nobody really cares about anything in his conference except football and men's basketball. This goes for every conference, not just the Big Ten.
Cohen reiterated that the top games would go to ABC and ESPN and the Big Ten Network would simply serve a niche market. He said the cable company would like to carry the network, but not if it means sticking customers with "a burdensome Big Ten tax.
Comcast's Cohen is absolutely correct here. It cannot be argued. The Big Ten Network gets the second selection of games three times and the third selection of games three times during the coming season. The rest of the season they get the crumbs. Northwestern vs. Indiana. Illinois vs. Minnesota. Michigan State vs. Purdue. Iowa vs. Indiana. Illinois vs. Northwestern. These are crap games, plain and simple unless one of the teams has a stellar year. But if they do, too bad...ESPN and ABC get first choice EVERY WEEK. The bottom line is that the BTN will basically be catering to a LOCAL NICHE MARKET, plain and simple.
I assume all of this posturing and prodding is meant to drive the price down for the BTN and I bet it will work. I just wish Delaney would get off of his high horse and realize that except for the relatives of the members of the Iowa volleyball team, nobody cares about them. I am glad that Iowa has a volleyball team, but couldn't care less about them. And I never will, like 99.99% of those that view sports on TV. Heck I went to Illinois and don't even care about our volleyball team...like, I would assume, 99.99% of our alumni.