Friday, June 29, 2007

More on the BTN saga.

Jim Delany seems to be taking his pills. The Centre Daily provides some more insight on the BTN today. Our once-pugnacious commissioner has this to say about Comcast now:
"Comcast is an important and respected distributor," Delany said in a Capitol news conference. He said negotiations with the Philadelphia-based company, which serves Centre County, are ongoing."Their customers are our fans. And it's really about what is the best way" to deliver programming to them, Delany said.
Either Jim reconsidered, or the folks from Fox, which owns 49 percent of the endeavor, have been in his ear. Either way, he seems to be making some progress. He also makes some points that I have been trying to make concerning the appeal of the network and Comcast's new-found respect for its customers' pocketbooks:
"I've seen networks with far less compelling content than this (appear) on basic" cable, Delany said at the news conference.
***
"The fact is, we would not be the only network without 100 percent support from every subscriber," Delany said. " ... There's no one (channel) where 100 percent of people support it."
There's more info on the programming itself and what sort of advertising the network will accept:
The Big Ten Network has made several pledges, including a ban on advertising for
alcoholic drinks.
Makes sense.
It's also agreed to devote, within three years, equal time to men's and women's athletics, and to carry some academic programs.
Sigh. Of course, the women who play varsity sports work every bit as hard as the men. But come on. There are exactly two college sports with widespread viewing appeal: football and men's basketball. Other sports, including hockey (which the BTN won't have because it isn't a Big Ten sport), women's basketball, baseball, and soccer have niche followings, but the big two are basically it, in terms of attracting an audience of folks who aren't necessarily fans of the particular schools that are playing. I might watch Minnesota and Northwestern play football(might even do a bit of Sports Betting on it). I won't watch them play field hockey.
Earlier this week I noted that the nightly Sportscenter-type show had potential, unless the league decided to go all politically correct with how they treat various sports. I never would have guessed that the league would do that with actual programming. As with Title IX implementation generally, the teams that really will fall victim to this are the men's non-revenue sports. And I really don't have a problem with Title IX. As long as we are going to pretend that intercollegiate athletics are a purely educational activity, let the schools deal with Title IX. but it seems a strange business decision to impose Title IX restrictions where they aren't necessarily required. Actually making money off this enterprise would benefit non-renvue sports in a tangible way that broadcasting corss country meets will not.

1 comment:

Football Fan said...

I agree with the Commissioner. The overall benefits to fans will outweigh whether or not everyone who subscribes actually watches the Big Ten Network. Personally, I have cable and I watch about seven channels. When the Big Ten Network goes on-air, I plan on devoting a lot of time to watching teams that will be playing my team. Even if my team isn't playing at the time, there is as much merit to watching your opponents. I love the idea of getting games that I have never been able to watch in the past.