Time Warner vs. The Big Ten Network

Time Warner vs. The Big Ten Network
Big Ten Network

Time Warner vs. The Big Ten Network

The refusal of Time Warner Cable to carry the Big Ten Network left many Buckeye fans out in the cold last year. But this year, OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith might be on to something…

By Eric Geier

The Issue

    The issue is simple; Time Warner Cable doesn’t want to pay the Big Ten Network. The Big Ten Network has asked Time Warner for $1.00 per subscriber. Apparently, that amount of money requested will put Time Warner in the red (that’s sarcasm if you can’t tell). In non-Big Ten states, the Big Ten Network asks for only $.10 per subscriber, a move that seems to be fueling Time Warner’s refusal to carry the network. If they only require $.10 for non-Big Ten states, then why are they asking for so much more for the 8 Big Ten states? It seems that both sides want to have their cake and eat it to, but there’s only one piece of cake.

Gene Smith’s Solution

    An e-mail sent by OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith today announced that a deal between the two networks is probably not going to be reached. But he has a solution, switch networks. Smith urged alumni and ticket holders in the e-mail to check out rates in their area for other cable subscribers, even providing a link where users can enter their zip code and check prices.

    "While negotiations are ongoing with Time Warner, it appears very unlikely that an agreement will be reached before the first game of the year, and anything beyond that is problematic," said Smith. He called the failing negotiations a “huge disappointment.”

    However, Gene Smiths proposal might be the thing that kicks Time Warner in their pants. The prospect of losing hundreds, maybe thousands of customers might be enough to scare Time Warner into a deal with the Big Ten Network.

Time Warner’s Response

    Upon hearing Smith’s proposal to Time Warner subscribers, they issued a statement of their own, saying, “It appears the University is not being fully briefed on the status of the negotiations, we’ve had positive discussions with Fox in recent days including the active exchange of proposals.”

    “There’s no stalemate or breakdown in discussions as Smith’s letter would have our customers believe. On the contrary, talks are moving in the right direction,” the statement said, concluding, “We are ready to carry the Big Ten Network.”

    Time Warner’s response to Smith’s comments is just something to deter customers from switching networks right now. At this point, just one week before the first game of the season, it seems highly unlikely that a deal is going to be reached. However, if Time Warner sees a substantial drop in subscribers, we could see a deal reached sooner, rather than later. So, as fans, you have three options, switch networks, make sure you make friends with someone who has the network, or make sure you reserve your seat early at your local bar.

Games on the Big Ten Network
August 30th- Youngstown State
September 20th- Troy
September 27th- Minnesota
Second Conference Game- TBD


The Big Ten Network worked out its issues with Time Warner which was then merged into Spectrum in 2017. The network continues to grow and provide Ohio State fans with a number of shows, products, commentators, and games. Shows include Big Ten Football Saturday, Big Ten Tip-off, and Big Ten Football in 60. New products include a Youtube channel featuring many game highlights and short videos summarizing all the competition. Big Ten To Go is a new streaming service which now offers some games exclusively. Some of the great commentators include Mike Hall, Rick Pizzo, Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, and Howard Griffith. And you can catch at least 4 basketball games a week and a similar number of football games every Saturday.


blog comments powered by Disqus