Editor's note: we have updated the title of the article to reflect the latest news from Comcast. The rest of the original article, as well as updates, are still presented below.
Rumors have been circulating today that Comcast will be dropping the Big Ten Network across the nation in May, and has already done so in markets outside of the Big Ten’s footprint. At first, I was skeptical, though I saw the same quote repeated across many boards. I was able to reached out to a Comcast representative today, and one of their employees confirmed that the Big Ten Network would no longer be available:
This wasn’t the most conventional way to get confirmation about Comcast’s decision, but it will do for now as there has yet to be an official confirmation. Of course, I only confirmed it for the Ann Arbor area, but given that they are dropping it from the market where a Big Ten school is located, I think it is safe to assume that they will drop it across the entire Big Ten footprint.
Assuming Comcast holds on to this decision into next season, this is a huge blow for Purdue fans, and any fan of the Big Ten school. BTN has grown over the last decade and often covers the large in-conference games in both football and men’s basketball, so they are no longer associated with the bottom of the barrel teams.
Of course, with the rise of streaming TV packages, like Playstation Vue, DirecTV Now, and Youtube TV, there are options for those whose only cable option was Comcast and can help BTN recover lost subscribers. BTN’s average subscription fee was 48 cents, and I’m not entirely sure how many BTN subscribers came through Comcast. While those who want BTN will use the previously mentioned streaming services, one has to assume that this could take a bite into BTN and Big Ten Conference’s budget, as many of those BTN subscribers may have had the channel by default since it was included in their package, even if they didn’t watch it.
We’ll have more as this story develops.
UPDATE: it looks like Comcast will keep BTN in states where B1G schools are located.
Some further clarification from Comcast media relations.— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) April 12, 2018
The markets that will continue to receive BTN are Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
States not on this list are considered out-of-market.
Of course, some will quickly point out that Iowa, Nebraska, and New York are left off the list. We should point out that Comcast does not serve these states, which would explain why they were left off the list.