The Big Ten Network goes on the air in a little more than a month but it is still not clear just how many Iowa fans will be able to watch it. The network has an agreement with Direct-TV and several smaller cable companies. It is a different story for the state’s largest cable company.
Network president Mark Silverman says Mediacom is still refusing to carry the network, but he says they have deals with over 30 cable operators in Iowa along with the Direct-TV agreement. At issue is where the network is placed. Officials with the Big Ten Conference and the network want it to be part of a basic cable package.
Mediacom and some other large carriers want to place it on their digital sports tier. Silverman says their view is that this type of network is so “directly relateable and relevant in the Iowa community” should be one of 60 channels. He says every regional sports network in the country is carried in the basic cable package. Silverman says every deal they’ve done so far has been that way.
Silverman says there isn’t any network like the Big Ten Network that isn’t part of a basic package. Silverman says until the cable industry breaks out the bundling of channels, then this treatment is not right for the Big Ten Network. The network goes on the air August 30th.