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Big Ten set to lose big money with Comcast dropping BTN out-of-market

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BTN was way ahead of its time, and for plenty of college sports fans has become a staple of their viewing habits. It’s also become a huge money-maker for the Big Ten conference as a whole.

But, that is all about to stop as Comcast announced it is dropping the network in all states that don’t have a Big Ten team in them.

The full list of states not affected by Comcast decision:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin

This decision wasn’t one that the folks at BTN were any too happy about either. According to the network’s Twitter account, this was a unilateral decision by the cable provider.

What is Comcast’s loss is certainly about to be the gain of competitors in those areas. The coverage of Comcast is huge, as one of the largest cable providers in the country. Our friend Kevin McGuire pointed out just how big their footprint is:

There are certainly areas in which the Big Ten would be popular, especially to those who graduated from Big Ten schools and moved — we’re looking at you Northern California and Florida. However, just how big of an impact on fans of the conference outside of those major areas is hard to quantify.

What isn’t hard to quantify is the fact that BTN and the Big Ten conference is losing out on a major amount of money. Comcast pays $.45 for every subscriber to BTN, but now it is chopping the network in out-of-market areas and that means a loss in the millions for the conference.

It is an interesting decision considering most have been just fine with having the conference as part of their sports & entertainment packages.

Not even allowing fans to pay an extra fee to get the network via Comcast was a big shock as well.

The timing makes perfect sense though, as we are in the dead part of the year in terms of viewership on the network.

Will Comcast and BTN be able to work this issue out and get the network back on when it comes time for football season in August? That remains to be seen, but Comcast has been a big partner for the conference’s network from the start so you’d have to think this is something that could be worked out.

If not, fans and the conference’s coffers will suffer a lot come this fall.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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