Not Comcastic? Not Looking Good [And More On Not Getting It]

What follows is, for the most part, and update for those of you who are currently bound to providers other than Comcast.  But first, more from those journalist who refuse to understand things before they write about them:

It came and went with barely a blip on the radar.

It should’ve shocked the senses.

The Big Ten and cable giant Comcast kissed and made up, and that means you and I and anyone interested in fall ball will be paying big bucks in the near future.

It's like there's a formula out there, where you start with a crappy into, then dive into nonsense about how everyone got screwed.

Television, you see, is a world of copycats. Once something is successful, everyone follows.

Are you sure you didn't mean to say "Journalism, you see, is a world of copcats"? The reason I suggest that sentence is because I was able to link every single word in that phrase to a story just like yours only written earlier.

This, boys and girls, is what we call capitalism. The SEC has the supply and will demand millions upon millions for it. Eventually, someone has to pay for that fat contract one way or the other.

Just like someone has to pay for Big Ten football games when Comcast magically moves the network to its digital package next spring.

Why is the price to the consumer be brought up now?  All these games that are part of these "fat contracts", they were, for the most part, already on TV. Before the 2006 season (and thus before the BTN), 138 of Penn State's previous 140 games were on television.  The SEC already has a big money deal with CBS.  We've been paying all along, and as far as I know, no one has starved as a result. 

Besides, Comcast is paying just thirty extra cents per subscriber, meaning if they do pass it on, everyone's cable bill will increase by that amount.  Comcast very well may increase prices by more than that amount, but if they do it's going to have nothing to do with the terms of this agreement. Despite Hayes' condescending tone and dumb down economics lecture, he's missing the boat big time.

And to look a little further into, you know, facts, The University of Florida just signed* an independent deal worth $100 million.  Read: SEC Network is a no-go for at least a decade.  Besides that, the SEC schools aren't all under one banner like the Big Ten, an SEC Network would have to work for signed over broadcasting rights from each individual school.  The prospects of getting UF and Bama to agree to distribution and revenue sharing with Vanderbilt and Kentucky are not promising.

We've already covered this, but just to stick with the theme of redundancy: this story has been written at least eight times already.  It isn't any less wrong or more insightful when you write it.

Moving On.  So now that all of that is out of way, here are the above promised updates for those of you who aren't forced to wait on hold for two hours every month because you are continually charged for services your plan doesn't include don't have Comcast as your cable provider:

Verizon FiOS.  Reached a deal with the BTN several weeks ago:

Big Ten Network today announced that Verizon will make Big Ten Network available in both standard definition and high definition. Big Ten Network has already joined Verizon's most widely available level of service in the Ft. Wayne, Ind., area and will launch during the next few months, region by region, in all additional areas where FiOS TV is available.

Charter. Charter has enough buying power that they aren't really in a situation where they have to fold behind Comcast, or at least not right away. The few details that are out there indicate that a deal will probably not be done by football season.

Charter spokesman John Miller said the two key hang-ups in negotiations is where the network would be placed in Charter's channel lineup, and how much the cable company will pay for the service.

"I don't know if anything will move because Comcast has an agreement," Miller said, although adding he's "very optimistic" that a deal will eventually get done.

 Mediacom. Also not looking good.

Mediacom has been unable to reach a carriage deal with BTN. However, BTN's recent deal with Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, has raised hopes for deals with other major cable firms such as Charter and Mediacom.

The sticking points in the negotiations have been price and which level of service BTN will be carried on.

Peters told the paper that while such agreements are multifaceted, making them "less straightforward than a typical person might consider .... there's time to work through the various elements," before Big Ten teams start the college football season Aug. 30.

Time-Warner.  Representing a big time player in Ohio, Time-Warner is in a similar situation as Charter.  Unfortunately, it's the usual non-statements.

"We are encouraged by (our) negotiations, and hopeful that we and FOX (part owners of the Big Ten Network) can reach a fair and reasonable agreement prior to football season," said Pam McDonald, Time Warner's local vice president for government and public affairs.

Keep in mind that "reaching an agreement prior to football season" does not mean the BTN will be on Time-Warner by August 30th.  The Comcast deal was "reached" weeks ago but won't be coming through their cable lines until the middle of next month.  While it won't be too long before these cable companies will be forced to come to terms, any agreement made at this point probably won't be finalized and executed in time for week one.

 

 *To be fair, the deal was done after his publish date, but that doesn't change the fact that he didn't even look to see if any of these negotiations were even going on, or at the fundamental differences with the way the SEC is structured when compared to the Big Ten.

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