During Big Ten media day, Mark Silverman, president of Fox Sports National Networks and Big Ten Network, reminded Comcast that the network and cable provider’s contract is set to expire right as the college football season kicks off.
“The BTN agreement with Comcast is expiring soon, as is the agreement for all the Big Ten games on FS1. BTN and FS1 made proposals to Comcast dating back to February and we’ve had no substantive response,” Silverman said.
Those discussions haven’t gained much traction, according to a statement from BTN and FSI:
Comcast subscribers across the country are at risk of losing BTN and Big Ten football games on FS1 on September 1. We have offered Comcast proposals with rates that are in-line with what other distributors are paying; however, Comcast has not substantively responded to any of our renewal proposals, yet stopped offering BTN to subscribers outside of the conference’s home markets.
We love Big Ten football as much as the fans and feel a responsibility to alert Comcast subscribers of the real possibility that they may lose BTN and Big Ten football games on FS1.
The timing of the contract dispute obviously couldn’t be worse. Big Ten teams play their first game of the season on September 1, the day Comcast’s agreement with the Big Ten Network expires.
The Potential Big Ten Comcast Blackout Would Start on September 1
If a new contract is not agreed upon, Comcast subscribers won’t be able to watch any Big Ten game, across all sports, on either BTN or FS1. Silverman suggested that viewers find a cable provider who does carry the games (such as Spectrum, AT&T, and DISH).
The Big Ten network has started a #KEEPBIGTEN campaign. The network has set up a website that lets Comcast subscribers easily call and talk to Comcast representatives to voice their displeasure with the contract dispute.
Numerous Twitter users have already used the hashtag.
Comcast Subscribers Already Lost Out-of-Market Big Ten Games Earlier This Year
The blackout comes on the heels of Comcast already dropping out-of-market games to subscribers. In April, many Twitter users reached out to Comcast asking why they received phone calls stating the Big Ten network would drop from their package in May.
As an example, if you grew up an Ohio State fan but moved outside of Big Ten country, you wouldn’t be able to watch Buckeyes games if you had Comcast. While the out-of-market situation may have only irked a small portion of fans, a widespread blackout of Big Ten games on Comcast, especially for those who live in Big Ten country, is sure to upset many.