Thursday, September 6, 2007

Possible progress between BTN and major cable carriers?

(Hat tip: Michigan Sports Center). Per an article in the Battle Creek Enquirer, BTN president Mark Silverman says "the BTN is set to announce deals this week with several major carriers." Here's the most interesting thing:
"There is a number, I guess, that we could come to," Espy said. "The Big Ten Network cut off talks, actually. We're still willing to get back in talks for the customer. We feel the sports tier is the best place for it, but we're willing to talk." Told of that response, Silverman expressed surprise. He said Comcast has never given an indication that it would budge on placement.
Did Espy misstate Comcast's position? Did he intentionally extend something of an olive branch to the BTN? Did he accidentally let slip Comcast's "real" position? It's hard to say. Silverman expressed optimism that the BTN would be on Comcast by November 3 (the focus of the article is the Michigan-MSU game that day, one of three days on which the BTN gets the second choice of games).


pierre said...

Does this mean the BTN will finally compromise and put the games back on TV?

John M said...

I think the BTN has always been willing to compromise on price--one article I saw a few days ago described the $1.10 figure as a "sticker price," i.e., not a figure that they ever really expected to get. The main sticking point is that the BTN wants to be on basic cable in the eight state Big Ten footprint, while Comcast (and others, but Comcast seems to be the ringleader) wants it on a pay-only, digital-only sports tier.

I'll probably mention this in a post later today, but apparently Dish Network has made a deal. That's a pretty big win for the BTN in its ongoing battle, and undercuts Comcast's (legitimate) argument that the joint ownership is the only reason why DirecTV has the BTN.