Time Warner Adds Big Ten Network, College Football Fans Rejoice

Time Warner Cable has reached a deal to offer the Big Ten Network on expanded basic cable in Big Ten states, says the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

From JS Online:

The agreement came only days before the start of the Big Ten football season. The Big Ten Network has the broadcast rights to this Saturday’s game between the University of Wisconsin and the University of Akron at Camp Randall.

If not for the agreement-in-principle, the game would not have been made available to Time Warner customers.

As recently as Friday, Mark Silverman, the president of the Big Ten Network, said he was pessimistic that a deal could be reached in time for the start of the football season.

For months, the cable giant and the network differed on the merits of a channel devoted to Big Ten sports. The network argued that, particularly in the Big Ten states, there was a demand for Big Ten programming. Time Warner argued that such a channel belonged on a special sports tier, in which customers who wanted Big Ten athletic events to watch should have to pay extra to see them.

With Time Warner now in the Big Ten Network fold, that leaves Charter Communications, which has extensive cable operations in Wisconsin, including Madison, without a deal with the Big Ten Network.

A Charter Communications spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The network, which went on the air last August, has national agreements with Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS and more than 230 smaller cable operators.

We expect a lot of distraught Charter customers to email in the coming days, but it’s still good news for Big Ten fans.

Time Warner adding Big Ten Network [JS Online]

(AP Photo/ Morry Gash)


Edit Your Comment

  1. cmcd14 says:

    I have Charter here in Kalamazoo, MI. I’m sure they will work out a deal in the near future.

  2. sjmoreau says:

    We just got the BTN on Comcast in Minneapolis! Woo-hoo!

  3. sjmoreau says:

    We just got the BTN with Comcast in Minneapolis! Woo-hoo!

  4. savvy999 says:

    Absolutely correct, Meg– football fans are rejoicing. I danced a little jig.

    BTN on Comcast here too. I love the shows where they’re at football practice. Just can’t get that kind of coverage from ESPN/CBS/FOX etc.

    The other big conferences will have their own networks in 4 years, tops.

    Happy Football Season, everyone! Starts in 2 days!


  5. ganzhimself says:

    C’mon Charter! The ball is in your court now! I hate the fact that to see BTN I have to hit up a bar with the dish or drive to my parental units’ home, who also have the dish. There is still time Charter, don’t think that adding a few new HD channels this week distracted me long enough to forget there was no BTN. Jerks.

  6. klwillis45 says:

    Now if only TW-Milwaukee would add the HD channels they have in other markets.

  7. ryan89 says:

    *wishes Kansas was a Big Ten state*

  8. coan_net says:

    When the Big Ten Network started – here in central Illinois, our local cable place did not have it – and I don’t think Dish Network had it yet, but DirecTV did – and you would not believe the number of people who were switching to DirecTV – the local satelite place who does the installs were backed up for months….. which made some users miss the first part of the season.

    Those cable places lost a lot of customers by their delay in getting it… which I think they finally did about 1/2 way through the season – too late for many of their users.

  9. cjones27 says:

    Sweet. Now everyone can watch them get demolished by the SEC!

  10. EarlNowak says:

    How the heck is there a Big Ten network, but no SEC network?

  11. velvetjones says:


  12. velvetjones says:

    also: P…J…HILLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. ShabazOSU says:

    It was ‘breaking news’ on the 11pm news here in C-bus lastnight. I was THIS close to cancelling time warner & switching to WOW. Last year I tried because I told them it was because they didnt have BTN, but they offered me too sweet of a deal to stay.

  14. trekwars2000 says:

    What about The Mountian?

  15. Gopher bond says:

    @velvetjones: Sal is dead…

  16. pigbearpug says:

    Exactly! I was wondering the same thing. Why doesn’t Comcast have an SEC Network? If the Big Ten and the SEC were in prison, the SEC could make the Big Ten sit down to pee.

  17. cyclade says:

    I’m not in a geographically relevant area for the Big 10, but I’ll bet that despite the enormous popularity of college football in large parts of the country, there are going to be some folks that are going to wind up pretty steamed at the likely increases in their cable bills that will result from this down the road. They did this with the New England Sports Network (exclusive TV home of the Red Sox) in my neck o’ the asphalt a few years back. While I’d have been glad to pay the extra $3/month to watch baseball, there were a lot of folks who weren’t when NESN got crammed into the “digital plus” package that contained many popular “expanded basic” cable channels.

    When are we going to get la carte cable? When is someone going to wake up Congress and get them to do away with the local cable “franchising” regime that allows cities and towns to require idiotic things like public access TV and those 80s style, Commodore 64-looking “information” screens announcing pet adoption at the local mall? Why is this medium — which consists of entirely private networks — regulated at all?

    But I digress. Um, go Penn State?

  18. zlionsfan says:

    @pigbearpug: Comcast doesn’t have one because there isn’t one. :)

    Earl’s question, well … for once, the Big Ten may actually have been ahead of the curve. One advantage I think we had is that the value of Big Ten programming has been decreasing recently, so it was easier to pull the secondary games away from ESPN et al. The SEC is not in the same position.

    The AJC explains it pretty well. There’s obviously a market for SEC TV. The problem is that you don’t have much time to get it worked out: from mid-March to, um, whenever you want to start watching football-related programming. You also have to make sure that the people who were watching Raycom can get SEC TV, otherwise you will be in big, big trouble.

    I’d look for it sometime next year.

    I actually liked the coverage of non-revenue sports on BTN. Between those and the alternate channels (so you get your choice of games on Saturday in the fall), it’s a pretty good deal, but I guess that’s another factor. To maximize the value you get, providers need to have enough space to offer the main channel and the alternates …

  19. Ghettoshark says:

    Dish Network doesn’t have it on basic cable… It’s on a “sports tier”. Another reason why I’m going to switch to DirecTV.

  20. danegerous_21 says:

    @EarlNowak: @zlionsfan:

    i work at fox sports networks operations center, we run all FSN networks plus BTN though our facility and i can tell you for the talk on the street is that the big conferences might break off and have the own channels. like the big 12, pac-10, and SEC

    College Football is our buiest time of the year.

    also just a heads up a FSN Tennesse and a full time FSN Houston are in the works.

  21. poolejc says:

    I doubt you will see an SEC network any time soon with the contract extension with CBS for first pick rights and most recently the contract signed with ESPN to carry all SEC home games on one of their networks starting with the 09-10 season through 2023-2024.

  22. eirrom says:


    You have got to be kidding? The official line from Charter is that by adding the Big Ten Network & the NFL Network, they would have to raise the rates of their programming. They are “doing us a favor” by not adding the channels. They raised their rates beginning of this year anyway. Thanks for doing us that big favor!

    This is Year 3 without the NFL Network & Year 2 without the Big Ten Network. I live in Madison and I will not get the Akron game. I guess I keep hoping but the Dish Network is looking more and more appealing!

  23. stinerman says:


    While I agree that we need a la carte channels, I think you have the wrong idea on who to blame regarding the sorry state of cable television. It would indeed take government intervention to force a la carte programming, but you seem to know that.

    The local government gets to regulate the public access channels and stuff like that as part of an agreement for the cable company to put its wires on your poles. Otherwise, Comcast et al. would have to negotiate with each landowner individually to run wires over their property.

    The local government ends up at a disadvantage because if they ask for too much, the franchise agreement doesn’t get renewed. That means no cable for anyone in town (for those towns that have one provider). At that point, the cable company can just sit on their lines until the government caves (which will be right quick when half the population calls in to city hall to complain).

  24. all4jcvette says:

    Now if only Time Warner, Wide Open West, and the other cable companies could only come to an agreement with the NFL to carry the NFL Sunday Ticket.

    I switched because I couldn’t get the programming I wanted. I would be nice to have a choice again.

  25. Riddler says:

    This is why there is no SEC network:


    $200 million plus per year would convince me to forgo my own network.

  26. pigbearpug says:

    @Riddler: Good reference. That makes sense from a financial perspective; nobody can argue with that. It just pisses me off when ESPN buys the rights to games and then doesn’t effing show them, or they relegate them to some pay per view or obscure ESPN sub-network. I just want to watch Vanderbilt try to win, that’s all.

  27. jessicat says:

    Thank You Lord!

    As a proud graduate of THE Ohio State University I was enraged when I found out that I couldn’t see multiple games when I transplanted to the Queen City. 100 miles away and no Buckeyes?


  28. Bryan Price says:

    For months, the cable giant and the network differed

    According to my buddies in Columbus and Cincy, it’s been more like years. One of my buddies in Columbus threw TW out of his house over it. He now has AT&T DSL, DirectTv, and some VOIP for the threesome. Two months after he’s settled down with his new stuff, AT&T wants to connect him Uverse, which he claims (and is totally blown out of the water as my local paper claims Uvers (at least here) will not be) fiber to the home. He didn’t bite.

    @ShabazOSU: It was pathetic when WBNS has decided to stop broadcasting the games I thought. Something I couldn’t believe WBNS would gave up, especially after TW told them no way. I dread to think what the Wolfes would have done had they owned that part of TW.

  29. Bryan Price says:

    @jessicat: I-O!

  30. ganzhimself says:

    @BigTen Fans who are stuck with Charter…

    A deal appears to be imminent, read all about it at The Capital Times: