I get the Sporting News in the mail today, and towards the end (in the college football page) I read this story on the Big Ten Network. It's about how Comcast, which serves me here in the Shenandoah Valley, agreed to carry the BTN...for a fee. Meaning, if you want to see the BTN, you have to pay extra each month--which is what I do to get the NFL Network.
Ah, but the story doesn't end there. In the article, it says that Comcast reserves the right to take the BTN to digital cable after basketball season ends in March. Again, this is what I did when Comcast took the NFL Network off the regular digital package the 1st of the year and put it (as well as CBS College Sports, Fuel, Fox College Sports-Atlantic/Central/Pacific and others) on a sports tier. That's why I pay $6 more every month than I had been before.
But, this got me thinking. Isn't this how it always is with start-up sports channels?? The YES Network comes to mind; how they tried to bleed cable customers in the NYC area until they (the customers, that is) screamed bloody murder. Hell, Home Team Sports in our area (the present-day Comcast Sports Net/Mid-Atlantic) did us the same way--tried to make people pay extra for it, until the cable companies squawked.
And yet the troubling aspect of this story, is that originally it was the SEC that wanted to start up their own network...but instead waited, and watched the Big Ten go through the screw-ups and stuff. (I can remember the many "horror-story" blogs on here about that.) Why wait, you ask?? Simple: because the SEC's deal with CBS Sports is up after this year, and they want to shop for the highest bidder.
Which in this case, could be Fox...which owns 49% of the Big Ten Network.
So don't be surprised to see your cable bill go up in the next year or so, should this all go down. You've been warned...
And with that, blog #299 is in the books. Now, to write #300...