Are You Ready...To Miss 19 Games?

Bloomington, Ind. – While it's Big Ten football fans who are currently upset about missing some of their respective teams' games this fall due to the ongoing stalemate between Big Ten Network officials and local cable providers, basketball fans could face the same reality this winter.

Bloomington, Ind. – While it's Big Ten football fans who are currently upset about missing some of their respective teams' games this fall due to the ongoing stalemate between Big Ten Network officials and local cable providers, basketball fans could face the same reality this winter.

As many as 19 of Indiana's regular season games will be carried by the Big Ten Network (BTN), the conference announced Monday. While the BTN is included on both DirecTV and the DISH Network, it is currently unavailable on most local cable services, including Indiana's primary provider, Comcast.

Cable providers and BTN officials continue to be at an impasse about how the BTN should be distributed. Cable companies want to include it as a premium service, making it part of a sports tier package. BTN officials are adamantly opposed to that, instead insisting that it be included as part of the basic cable package.

The two sides have feuded publicly during the negotiations over the last several months, and don't appear to be near a resolution. If that continues, a majority of IU basketball fans may be unable to view a majority of IU's games this season.

The BTN is scheduled to air 11 of IU's 14 non-conference games and eight of its 18 Big Ten contests. The Nov. 4 season opener against North Alabama is slated to be on the BTN, as are the first seven games of the season. If the two sides don't come to an agreement, cable subscribers won't be able to see an IU game until the Hoosiers face Georgia Tech on ESPN in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge Nov. 27. That's one of only three non-conference games that will air on something other than the BTN, along with the Dec. 1 match-up with Southern Illinois (ESPNU) and Dec. 8 contest against Kentucky (CBS).

Cable subscribers could also miss the Big Ten season opener at Iowa on Jan. 2 as well as a high-profile match-up Feb. 13 against Wisconsin.

Before his team departed for the Bahamas, IU Coach Kelvin Sampson said he wasn't worried about the issue, at least not yet.

"We don't play on TV again until November, so if we get to November and it's an issue then I'd probably be concerned about it," Sampson said.

"Hopefully that won't be a problem. The most important entity of our program is No. 1a our players, and No. 1b is our fans. It's all about the players and the fans. It's important our fans have access to our games, I know that."

Peegs.com Top Stories