Big Ten Network Scores WideOpenWest Deal

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Big Ten Network has reached a carriage deal with WideOpenWest positioning it on the provider’s expanded basic package.

The deal pushes the sports network, which is co-owned by the conference’s 11-member schools and Fox National Cable Sports Networks, past the 30 million subscriber mark within a month of its launch. BTN and Fox National Cable say that availability level is the first time in cable or satellite TV history that a new network has earned that distinction.

WOW serves some 400,000 homes in the states of Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana, states that fall within the conference’s eight-state footprint.

“We’re excited to be able to offer Big Ten Network to our customers,” said Colleen Abdoulah, president and chief executive officer for WOW in a statement. “We recognize how important these games are to Big Ten fans and are pleased we were able to reach an arrangement with Big Ten Network that makes sense for all of our customers.”

Deal terms were not disclosed.

However, Fox has been seeking monthly license deals at around $1 per subscriber for carriers operating within the conference footprint, and about 10 cents for subs outside that range.

Sources also say that BTN is nearing a deal with another overbuilder, RCN.

In addition to WideOpenWest, BTN has deals with DirecTV, EchoStar Communications, Insight Communications, Buckeye Cable, AT&T’s U-verse TV and about 140 smaller cable and municipal providers.

However, it has been unable to reach deals with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Mediacom Communications, Charter Communications and Cox Communications, all of which have balked at BTN’s license-fee terms and expanded-basic positioning within the core Big Ten markets.

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