SBD/Issue 236/Sports Media

Big Ten Network, Atlantic Broadband Agree To Carriage Deal

The Big Ten Network (BTN) and Atlantic Broadband "have come to a carriage agreement, ending a two-year impasse," according to Cory Giger of the ALTOONA MIRROR. BTN will be available on Atlantic Broadband's "value level of service, and other more expensive levels, beginning Sept. 1." Atlantic Broadband Senior VP & Regional GM David Dane indicated that the two sides "reached a multi-year agreement for the value level of service." Other BTN deals with cable operators "have called for a one-year commitment on the value or basic level." Dane said that about 90% of Atlantic Broadband subscribers "have at least the value level of service." Giger noted the deal comes "just in time" for Penn State Univ. (PSU) football fans, as the school's first three games this season will air on BTN (ALTOONA MIRROR, 8/25). Atlantic Broadband had been the "last major cable provider in the area that did not carry" BTN (Johnstown TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT, 8/25).

DOWN TO THE WIRE: In Pennsylvania, Derek Levarse notes Service Electric Broadband Cable in Wilkes-Barre "does not have a deal to carry" BTN, and BTN President Mark Silverman and Penn State AD Tim Curley yesterday said that it "looks 'extremely doubtful' that a deal will be reached with Service Electric in time for the start of the football season." Silverman said that a deal "would likely have to be in place by Friday or Monday in time to have" the September 5 Akron-PSU game available to Service Electric's approximately 65,000 subscribers (Wilkes-Barre TIMES LEADER, 8/26).

GAINING TRACTION: In DC, Tim Lemke writes college sports networks "have gained big traction among sports fans and cable operators." Silverman said of BTN, which launched in August '07, "We're further along than I thought we'd be. I feel pretty good about our progress." TV sports analyst & consultant John Mansell:  "Most new networks that are sports networks are going to reach the subscribers they expect to reach within five years. So it's getting to that point where they are getting a good saturation level" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/26).

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