Sports Business Daily reports that Rutgers and Maryland games may not all be televised once they join the Big Ten in 2014, thanks to a possible battle between the Big Ten Network and cable operators:
The fact that Maryland and Rutgers are joining the Big Ten Conference doesn’t guarantee that their games will be on the Big Ten Network. In fact, several of their games may not be available locally at all — TV or broadband — when they kick off their Big Ten seasons in 2014.
Maryland and Rutgers face the possibility of having at least two football games and at least 15 basketball games go untelevised locally when they join the conference in a year and a half.
That’s because the Big Ten Conference is looking into a strategy that could keep all Maryland and Rutgers games — encompassing all sports — off of the Big Ten Network unless local distributors place the channel on an expanded basic tier. The Big Ten used that strategy successfully in Nebraska last year when the Cornhuskers joined the conference, and the conference is expected to use it again in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers join.
Darren Rovell will tweet that nobody watches Rutgers games in 3, 2, 1 …
That said, you can’t really blame the Big Ten here. The difference between premium cable and expanded basic could mean millions and millions of dollars per year for each Big Ten school.