Thursday, August 30, 2007

U Athletic Department Misleads About BTN

I'm sitting in my Northern Virginia home right now watching the Big Ten Network. So far, I'm unimpressed. But it's early. I'll give the network time.

Unfortunately, I'm likely in the minority of Minnesota Gophers fans who are able to watch the Big Ten Network right now. The largest cable operation in Minnesota, Comcast, has yet to sign on the dotted line with the Big Ten for it's money grab. I haven't opined about this from my digital soapbox because, well, it doesn't impact me. But it impacts many of you.

And I can't help but be slightly outraged by the contradictory press release sent out by the UofM today. Here's a snippet from the release.

"The new Big Ten Channel will result in higher visibility for Gopher athletics and the entire University of Minnesota both in our state and nationally," said Athletics Director Joel Maturi.

The Big Ten Network will provide more exposure for football and basketball and for sports programs that traditionally have received little or no television coverage such as baseball, soccer, gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling.

And there will be a dramatic increase in the amount of televised women's sports. More than 60 Big Ten women's basketball games will be broadcast this coming year, doubling the previous average. Within one year, women's sports will comprise half the network's sports programming.

The Big Ten Conference is the second conference to launch its own television network, but it is the first to have guaranteed national distribution. Available nationwide with Direct TV satellite and some smaller cable networks, the BTN is still negotiating with larger cable operators to expand its availability in the future.

The BTN can't be both a venue to add exposure for Big Ten teams while failing to come to an agreement with many large cable outlets throughout the country. The BTN has concentrated on cable companies in states that are home to conference teams. The network fails to realize it is 2007 and we live in an increasingly small world. I know many Big Ten fans working in the nation's capital. They'll need DirecTV to see many of the games they could otherwise have seen on their normal cable operator a year ago.

I'm not going to get into whether or not the BTN is asking too much per subscriber from Comcast and others or if the cable operators are in the wrong. What I will say is this propaganda from the University of Minnesota needs to stop, or at least include a dose of honesty.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I know many Big Ten fans working in the nation's capital. They'll need DirecTV to see many of the games they could otherwise have seen on their normal cable operator a year ago."

Not true. They would have had to order gameplan to see all the games produced by ESPN Regional last year. The Big Ten actually increased the number of football and basketball games on ESPN/ABC in the latest contract.

PJS said...

They'll need DirecTV to see the same number of games they could have a year ago.