After several fits and starts, Big Ten Network and Dish reached a multiyear carriage renewal agreement that gave conference fans their football fill on Saturday.
The parties announced a pact that restored the sports service to the No. 3 U.S. distributor’s air in time to televise a seven-pack of Big Ten pigskin games on Sept. 22:UAB-Ohio State; South Dakota-Northwestern; Eastern Michigan-Michigan State; Idaho State-Nebraska; Louisiana Tech-Illinois; Syracuse-Minnesota; and Central Michigan's upset of Iowa.
Initially, the original five-year contract was set to expire on Aug. 31, but BTN and Dish agreed on a pair of short-term extensions that kept the channel on the DBS provider during the first two weeks of the 2012 college football season. However, BTN pulled its signal on Sept. 14 and Dish customers missed third-week action and other coverage until the new pact, financial terms of which were not disclosed, was finalized and announced on Sept. 22.
BTN is available on channel 439 in Dish's America's Top 120+ package in most areas of states with Big Ten Conference schools. The channel is also available nationwide in its Multi-Sport Pack for $9 per month, with a qualifying core package.
"Big Ten Network and Dish have reached an agreement that returns BTN to the Dish channel lineup. the programmer said in a statement on its website. "We're pleased that both sides could eventually come together, and we thank fans for their patience."
"With BTN in our portfolio, and with the recent addition of Pac-12 Networks, we now offer more college sports than any other pay-TV provider in America," said Dave Shull, Dish senior vice president of programming, in a statement."We think our customers will be delighted that they can watch all Big Ten games this weekend and for years to come; and we are proud to offer our channel lineup at the lowest everyday prices in the industry."
Earlier this month, Dish inked a carriage contract with the Pac-12 Networks. DirecTV has yet to come to terms with the conference, which offers a national feed, as well as six sub-regional services – each tied to a pair of schools -- mapping the conference’s footprint.