Last modified: Thursday, June 19, 2008
Comcast/Big Ten Network agreement increases exposure in the Hoosier State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- With the Big Ten Network announcing a long-term multimedia agreement with Comcast today, Indiana University expects the reach of the network to increase to 90 percent coverage within the state when the cable company begins airing BTN programming on Aug. 15.
"I am extremely pleased that this agreement between Comcast and the Big Ten Network has been reached," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "Our fans expect to be able to watch Indiana University athletics on television and this agreement will provide broad access for IU fans to see more games involving more sports than ever before. This is great news for our fans and for all who enjoy Big Ten sports."
Last year, 19 of 35 IU men's basketball games (including exhibitions) and nine regular season Hoosier football games were shown live on the network. In addition, other IU athletic program appeared 26 times during the regular season and 16 other Big Ten Championship related events aired which featured the Hoosiers.
"The announcement of an agreement between the Big Ten Network and Comcast represents a major milestone for Indiana fans throughout the state, and across the eight-state footprint of the Big Ten Conference," said IU Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan. "Beginning this season, nearly 90 percent of the homes in Indiana will be able to enjoy Big Ten Network programming as an element of their cable television package. This exposure and coverage will enable Hoosier fans to see more live IU game action than ever before, and is a significant boost for our total athletic program. Moving forward, we are hopeful that other major cable operators will follow Comcast's lead and bring the Big Ten Network to their subscribers as well. The robust combination of the existing distribution of the BTN by satellite television providers, and the rapidly growing number of homes reached through cable operators, creates unparalleled visibility for the Big Ten Conference."
Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast will initially launch the network as part of its expanded basic level of service to promote it to the majority of its customers residing in states with Big Ten universities (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, with the exception of the Philadelphia region which will launch on a broadly distributed digital level of service) starting Aug. 15. (Comcast does not have systems in Iowa, the eighth Big Ten state.)
"As vice president of the Indiana University Board of Trustees, I have been looking forward to this day for a long time," said Patrick Shoulders. "I am most happy, though, for our many patient fans who are Comcast subscribers and now will have access to exciting Hoosier games and other Big Ten Network programming. These past few months have been difficult for many IU fans, and so I am extremely pleased and relieved that this agreement could be reached."
In spring 2009, Comcast may elect to move the network to a broadly distributed digital level of service in most of its systems in these states. Comcast's digital customers in the Big Ten states will also have immediate access to live Big Ten games and events in high definition, Big Ten programming via Comcast's video-on-demand platform, and a wide array of conference-related content through Comcast.net.
Outside of the Big Ten states that Comcast serves, Comcast has the option to provide Big Ten Network programming on any level of service, including its Sports Entertainment Package. Officials from Comcast and Big Ten Network said they look forward to utilizing both traditional and emerging media to bring more Big Ten programming to fans than was ever available to them before.
"We are very pleased with the agreement we have reached with the Big Ten Network to carry hundreds of live Big Ten events," said Madison Bond, executive vice president, content acquisition, Comcast Cable. "We will be providing our customers with Big Ten programming through our signature video-on-demand service, and will have lots of highlights, replays, scores and more through Comcast.net so fans can keep pace with Big Ten action whenever they want to."
Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman said the network is thrilled to have Comcast as a distribution partner. "This agreement allows us to reach many more Big Ten fans with our programming because of the high concentration of Comcast subscribers in Big Ten states. With the Comcast deal now in place, the Big Ten Network will be available to more than two-thirds of all homes in Big Ten Country."
Big Ten Network already produces more high-definition television content than any new sports network in television history. Over the next year, more than 400 live Big Ten sporting events will be carried by the Big Ten Network in high definition, including football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball and soccer, as well as other NCAA-sponsored sports.
Comcast's digital customers who receive the network will have On Demand access to programming such as weekly extended highlights and condensed game replays from around the conference, classic Big Ten sporting events, bowl game coverage and coaches' shows, plus original campus programming and nightly studio shows from Big Ten Network, most of which is available in high definition. Comcast also has the ability to deliver much of that same content to its Comcast High Speed Internet customers via the company's Comcast.net portal. Additionally, Comcast has the rights to carry certain network content on Fancast.com.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (http://www.comcast.com) is the nation's leading provider of entertainment, information and communications products and services. With 24.7 million cable customers, 14.1 million high-speed Internet customers, and 5.2 million voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content. Comcast's content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, The Golf Channel, VERSUS, G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One, 10 Comcast SportsNet networks and Comcast Interactive Media, which develops and operates Comcast's Internet business. Comcast also has a majority ownership in Comcast- Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia.
About the Big Ten Network
The Big Ten Network is dedicated to covering the Big Ten Conference and its 11 member institutions. The Big Ten Network provides unprecedented access to an extensive schedule of conference sports events and shows; original programs in academics, the arts and sciences; campus activities; and associated personalities. Sports programming includes live coverage of more major men's and women's events than ever before, along with news, highlights and analysis, all complemented by hours of university-produced campus programming. The network is available to all cable and satellite carriers and television distributors nationwide, with most programs offered in stunning high-definition television (HDTV). The Big Ten Network is a joint venture between subsidiaries of the Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks.