Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And you thought "prime time" was supposed to be a good thing

On the surface, the Big Ten Network -- a TV station devoted wholly to Big Ten sports -- should have cable companies scrambling for the privilege of carrying it, at least in the Midwest.

But then you sit back and think about the very public battle between the NFL Network and the cable companies who refused to pay the high price (70-80 cents per subscriber). Then you think about the popularity of the Big Ten -- a single conference -- versus the popularity of the entire NFL. And the fact that the Big Ten Network wants even more money than the NFL Network did: over $1 per subscriber. The cable companies didn't buckle to the NFL, and the realization hits: this station just isn't going to be available.

The Big Ten, though, is easing into this thing. It's said that certain football games will be televised exclusively on its network. Evidently, they're trying not to step on any toes; take a look at the prime time schedule for the 2007 season:

Sept. 1 -- Indiana State at Indiana, 8 p.m. EDT
Sept. 8 -- Syracuse at Iowa, 7 p.m. CDT
Sept. 15 -- Duke at Northwestern, 7 p.m. CDT
Oct. 13 -- Indiana at Michigan State, 7 p.m. EDT
Nov. 3 -- Illinois at Minnesota, 7 p.m. CDT

Hmm. Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa, and Michigan State fans will all have to fanagle a way to see one of their team's conference games. Who doesn't?

Fans of Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Purdue.

Like I said, the Big Ten isn't trying to tick anyone off initially. They've managed to keep the schools with the biggest, most rabid fanbases out of the death-hole of BTN Primetime.