Comcast drops pricey Big Ten Network in nonconference regions

Comcast confirmed that it will no longer distribute the Big Ten Network in regions outside those that are home to Big Ten Conference universities. 

According to the cable operator, the regional sports network will remain available to Comcast Xfinity TV subscribers in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. Comcast does not operate in Nebraska and Iowa. 

“The out-of-market Big Ten Network feed, which was carried on Sports & Entertainment pkg in non-Big Ten states, was dropped in some areas. Big Ten Network in-market feed, available to customers in Big Ten states in the regular channel line-up, will continue to be available,” read a tweet yesterday from the ComcastCares handle. 

Comcast said the decision to drop the RSN came amid regular reviews of how channels are performing in specific markets relative to the viewership they draw. The operator added that it’s still in the process of removing the Big Ten Network in some markets, and that the process will be completed in May. 

“Comcast XFinity has decided unilaterally to drop BTN in many markets,” the Big Ten Network tweeted yesterday. “All of their competitors still carry BTN everywhere. We at BTN share your disappointment. Let Comcast know how you feel.”

The Big Ten Network, which showcases major Division I collegiate sports events from powerhouses including Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, just to name a few popular college sports programs, is sold by 21st Century Fox.

According to data released by SNL Kagan last year, a bundle including Fox Sports 1 & 2 and the Big Ten Network costs pay TV operators $1.86 per subscriber, making it the second most expensive programming bundle behind Disney’s ESPN networks family ($9.06).