Comcast Corporation and the Big Ten Network announced today that they have reached a long-term multimedia agreement for Comcast to carry Big Ten Network programming across television, broadband and video-on-demand in time for the 2008 college football season.
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.
Officials from Comcast and Big Ten Network said they look forward to utilizing both traditional and emerging media to bring more Big Ten programming to fans than was ever available to them before.
"We are very pleased with the agreement we have reached with the Big Ten Network to carry hundreds of live Big Ten events," said Madison Bond, Executive Vice President, Content Acquisition, Comcast Cable. "We will be providing our customers with Big Ten programming through our signature video-on-demand service, and will have lots of highlights, replays, scores and more through Comcast.net so fans can keep pace with Big Ten action whenever they want to."
Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman said the network is thrilled to have Comcast as a distribution partner. "This agreement allows us to reach many more Big Ten fans
with our programming because of the high concentration of Comcast subscribers in Big Ten states. With the Comcast deal now in place, the Big Ten Network will be available to more than two-thirds of all homes in Big Ten Country."
Big Ten Network already produces more high-definition television content than any new sports network in television history. Over the next year, more than 400 live Big Ten sporting events will be carried by the Big Ten Network in high definition, including football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball and soccer, as well as other NCAA-sponsored sports.
Comcast's digital customers who receive the network will have On Demand access to programming such as weekly extended highlights and condensed game replays from around the conference, classic Big Ten sporting events, bowl game coverage and coaches' shows, plus original campus programming and nightly studio shows from Big Ten Network, most of which is available in high definition.
Comcast also has the ability to deliver much of that same content to its Comcast High Speed Internet customers via the company's Comcast.net portal. Additionally, Comcast has the rights to carry certain network content on Fancast.com.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (http://www.comcast.com) is the nation's leading provider of entertainment, information and communications products and services. With 24.7 million cable customers, 14.1 million high-speed Internet customers, and 5.2 million voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
Comcast's content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, The Golf Channel, VERSUS, G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One, ten Comcast SportsNet networks and Comcast Interactive Media, which develops and operates Comcast's Internet business. Comcast also has a majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia.
About the Big Ten Network
The Big Ten Network is dedicated to covering the Big Ten Conference and its 11 member institutions. The Big Ten Network provides unprecedented access to an extensive schedule of conference sports events and shows; original programs in academics, the arts and sciences; campus activities; and associated personalities. Sports programming includes live coverage of more major men's and women's events than ever before, along with news, highlights and analysis, all complemented by hours of university-produced campus programming. The network is available to all cable and satellite carriers and television distributors nationwide, with most programs offered in stunning high-definition television (HDTV). The Big Ten Network is a joint venture between subsidiaries of the Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks.