Bag It, Tag It: BTN Deal Is Final

As in actually signed and on it's way to your Comcast provided cable box :

Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast will initially launch the network as part of its expanded basic level of service to promote it to the majority of its customers residing in states with Big Ten universities (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, with the exception of the Philadelphia region which will launch on a broadly distributed digital level of service) starting August 15th. (Comcast does not have systems in Iowa, the eighth Big Ten state.) In Spring 2009, Comcast may elect to move the network to a broadly distributed digital level of service in most of its systems in these states. Comcast's digital customers in the Big Ten states will also have immediate access to live Big Ten games and events in high definition, Big Ten programming via Comcast's video-on-demand platform, and a wide array of conference-related content through Comcast.net.

Outside of the Big Ten states that Comcast serves, Comcast has the option to provide Big Ten Network programming on any level of service, including its Sports Entertainment Package.

Just to be clear, "any level of service" means you will be paying for the Sports Package if you are not in Big Ten Country. The move to the digital level after this season isn't too big of a deal only because most cable customers are on that level already.

No price announcement so far, but as we've covered over and over again, the cost per subscriber really the big issue. The big issue was disribution, and the Big Ten gets almost exactly what they asked for in that regard.

The other good news here, both for the BTN and you the Penn State fan, is that this means all the other cable providers, who have been waiting for this deal to be finalized, will more than likely be carrying the BTN on basic in the footprint and on some type of attainable package nation wide.

In Addition: The Philadelphia Business Journal reports:

From the start in the Philadelphia area, Comcast will only make the network available to digital customers. Seventy to 85 percent of Comcast's customers in the area -- 85 percent in Comcast's home town of Philadelphia -- get digital service, according to Jeff Alexander, the vice president of public relations for the Eastern Division of Comcast Cable Communications Inc., which is Comcast's cable-operating arm.
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