I have been delinquent in my Big Ten Network coverage, but Mgoblog's Brian Cook has been kind enough to pick up the slack, pointing out this AP article in which BTN president Mark Silverman says:
We're well on our way toward ensuring that roughly half the subscribers to smaller cable systems across the Midwest have better access to their favorite Big Ten schools and teams than anytime in history.
Well, that's less than optimistic. I guess signing up Cedar Falls and Dixon didn't have the expected domino effect. As Brian notes, if Silverman's quote is accurate and in context, it's pretty troubling. If any company is an easy sell, it would have to be a mom-and-pop cable company in a Big Ten state. While a national company like Comcast might not feel much of a pinch, Joe's Cable Company/Bait Shop surely wouldn't want to see even five percent of its customers bail for DirecTV. My hope is that Silverman really meant that the BTN is well on its way to having half of the cable subscribers in the midwest or some such thing. After all, amateurish press releases have become something of a Big Ten tradition, thanks to the commish. As a satisfied DirecTV customer, I have no personal stake in the negotiations, but if this move reduces exposure of Big Ten teams, it's bad news.