Big Ten Network strikes new deal in New Jersey and New York: Is D.C. next?

Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Will the Terrapins be further in the BTN footprint before the season starts?

The Big Ten Network (BTN) may have struck a deal with Cablevision and Time Warner Cable in the New Jersey/New York area, appeasing Rutgers fans and putting the channel on basic cable packages, but Maryland fans are stuck wondering when a deal will be signed in this area. The era of Maryland fans complaining about the lack of football games televised is likely over, with the BTN expanding their reach. According to a BTN spokesperson via Alex Prewitt, distribution is still being worked towards in the D.C. area.

The Big Ten Network is available on some cable packages in the D.C. area, like Verizon Fios, but expansion is coming, as the conference has made it a priority. "It is our number one priority this year to integrate Rutgers and Maryland into the Big Ten Network and make high-quality programming for both schools," BTN President Mark Silverman told The Star-Ledger.

Currently, the BTN is an international network that reaches 52 million homes and is carried by all of the major television distributors including Comcast Xfinity, DIRECT TV, DISH, Verizon Fios and more. The BTN extends across the entire country but is only available to cable subscribers as a basic cable extension service in 13 states (including New York and New Jersey). For those outside of the Big Ten region, (including Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and DC as of now) cable subscribers could still access the network, but would need a special, more expensive sports package.

Being a part of the BTN would be monumental for the Terps. The network was launched in 2007 and has since exploded in its reach. When the BTN makes a deal with the DC area, Maryland will widen its viewership exponentially. Every home game and conference away games are guaranteed to be televised while all non-conference games are subject to the television rights of that team.

Maryland fans wouldn't have to sift through channels searching for the game because the BTN holds the screening rights to ABC, Fox Cable Networks and multiple ESPN networks. It's not just football and men's basketball that will be on TV -- the Big Ten Network has a lot of air time to fill, and non-revenue sports end up getting games on national television (which, as one of the only conferences that offers this opportunity, can't hurt in recruiting efforts). For now, it's just a matter of waiting for a deal to go through.

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