According to the New York Times, Comcast has 5.7 million subscribers in the eight states with Big Ten teams.
Briefly stated, the Big Ten Network is hoping to land in expanded basic cable packages with Comcast and other providers.
Comcast, meanwhile, would prefer to relegate the BTN to its digital packages, perhaps on a special sports tier, which would require subscribers to pay an extra fee to receive.
It may be months before one side or the other gives in or some middle ground is negotiated.
In the meantime, expect both sides to ramp up the pressure for the other to change course.
The Big Ten may well have already done that, putting its three biggest football television draws — Penn State, Ohio State (vs. Youngstown State) and Michigan (vs. Appalachian State) — on the BTN for their respective season-openers Sept. 1.
The BTN intends to carry about 35 football games next season. It has already scheduled 17 games in the first three weeks of the campaign. Every conference team plays on the BTN at least once in that span, and powers PSU, OSU and Michigan each make two appearances on the new network in the first three weeks of the season.
To date, two other Penn State games have been selected for national TV. The Lions' home dates with Notre Dame (Sept. 7) and Ohio State (Oct. 27) will both be played at night (6 p.m. for the former, 8 p.m. for the latter). The Notre Dame game will be on ESPN. The Ohio State game will be carried by ABC, ESPN or espn2.
Penn State's homecoming matchup with Wisconsin Oct. 13 it set for a regional telecast on ABC. It will kick at 3:30 p.m.