Big Ten Network, Wide Open West Reach Deal

The Big Ten Network and Wide Open West, one of the largest cable providers in Ohio, struck a deal for the BTN to reach subscribers to WOW's basic tier in time for kickoffs within the conference this weekend.

The Big Ten Network announced a carriage agreement with provider Wide Open West on Friday.

WOW becomes the second of the three largest cable providers in Ohio to pick up the fledgling network, which went on the air Aug. 30. The state's largest provider, Time Warner, remains a holdout, while the BTN and No. 2 Insight reached a deal the day before the network launched.

The BTN will be available to WOW subscribers on the company's expanded basic tier throughout Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, in time for the three football games the network will carry this weekend: No. 21 Penn State at Illinois, Indiana at Iowa and Michigan at Northwestern. All games are scheduled for noon EST kickoffs.

According to a statement from the Big Ten Network, WOW is the nation's 11th-largest system operator overall, and the agreement boosts BTN's availability beyond 30 million homes in its first 30 days, making Big Ten Network the only new network in cable or satellite television history to earn that distinction.

In the same statement, WOW president and CEO Colleen Abdoulah said the company is excited to be joining up with the BTN.

"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."

Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman added, "We are tremendously pleased that WOW, along with over 140 television distributors, recognizes that fans throughout the Midwest want to have access to the wide variety of games, events and programs available on the Big Ten Network. While we still have a way to go, we're honored to have reached 30 million homes faster than any other new network in history."

With the addition of WOW, the network now has agreements with four of the eight largest cable, satellite and alternative video providers within the Big Ten Conference's eight-state region, including DirecTV, Dish Network, BuckeyeCable and AT&T.

With over 400,000 subscribers, WOW provides bundled television, high-speed Internet and telephony services to major Midwest markets in the Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus and Evansville, Ind., areas.

Ohio State's first two games of the 2007 season appeared on the Big Ten Network and at least one of its remaining conference contests will as well.

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