Mediacom Nears Big Ten Network Pact

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Mediacom subscribers who root for the University of Iowa are apparently going to get to watch their Hawkeyes do battle on the gridiron on Big Ten Network this season.

Mediacom is nearing a multiyear deal that would give the sports network basic-cable positioning on its systems in the Hawkeye state, as well as in Illinois, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

The rollout of BTN, co-owned by the conference’s 11 member schools and Fox National Cable Sports Networks, is expected to begin early next week, in advance of Iowa’s first 2008 college football contest. The school’s first three games this year -- home matchups against Maine Aug. 30, Florida International Sept. 6 and Sept. 13 versus in-state rival Iowa State -- are all slated to air on BTN.

Mediacom officials could not be reached by press time Friday evening, while BTN and Fox Cable officials declined to comment.

Deal terms could not be immediately determined, but Mediacom and other key operators in BTN territory, notably Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter, sat out the service’s rookie 2007-08 season over positioning and monthly subscriber license fees said to be near $1 in the conference’s eight-state footprint. 

Comcast reached a BTN pact this summer and launched the service on Aug. 15. More recently, BTN struck accords with Midcontinent Communications and U.S. Cable.

However, Time Warner Cable and Charter currently remain on the sideline with the service.

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