BTN Inspires Neutral Valence in NY, NJ, DC. Also: New BTN Payout Estimates

Submitted by Zone Left on December 12th, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Via Tom Fornelli at CBS Sports

As is standard, the BTN is expected to threaten Maryland and Rutgers TV areas with not carrying Rutgers and Maryland games to extort cable providers to put the BTN on basic cable, which likely inspires zero interest outside of other Big Ten fans living in those areas. 

After playing with the numbers a little, full BTN penetration in NY, NJ, Maryland, and DC would create about $70.8M in additional BTN revenue, which would result in about $4M additional payout per team from the BTN. That's about a 36% increase in BTN money and a 16% increase in total revenue sharing per team. 



December 12th, 2012 at 4:42 PM ^

carried 4 Michigan games this season, IIRC: (UMass, @Purdue, MSU, @Minny). Availability of those games (and games involving 11 other existing Big Ten teams) is a larger factor than just Rutgers Football. Penn State has a huge fanbase in the areas described in the article.


December 12th, 2012 at 4:49 PM ^

So is the idea that adding rutgers pushes BTN over the edge in terms of giving them the leverage to do this. Those fans from psu, us, etc. are there now and btn isn't on the standard the only thing that is changing, from my understanding, is that rutgers is in the conference. Rephrased, if showing our games or games for psu fans was the driving force, would we really needed to of added rutgers? It seems that they are under the impression that these 2 additions will provide the ability for this to happen, but that conclusion doesn't seem as sound to me. I think delany probably reasoned that it was worth a shot and that adding these 2 teams would kill the conference but that the upside is potential penetrance into these markets (the degree to which can be debated).


December 12th, 2012 at 10:14 PM ^

the idea is that now those teams aren't from some remote part of the country, they're part of the same conference as the local teams. Michigan is now playing 50 miles outside of New York instead of 500 miles away. 

And Rutgers brings a huge, if not passionate, alumni base. Mobilize them and in combination with existing B1G fanbases you have a powerful block. 

Wolverine Devotee

December 12th, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

Saw the words neutral and NY and DC and thought we'd see Michigan-MD at FedEx Field or Michigan-RU at Yankee Stadium or MetLife.

Also, I really wouldn't be surprised if Michigan would play at Citi Field someday. 


December 12th, 2012 at 4:37 PM ^

I don't get where the btn really has the leverage to do this. rutgers in nyc does not equal michigan in the greater detroit area. If I was a local provider there, I would just refuse to put it on the standard package and keep it on the sports plus or whatever. I doubt the outcry from rutgers fans would be so deafening that it would force them to reconsider. 


December 12th, 2012 at 4:46 PM ^

Well, it is a good thing Maryland and Rutgers have large and vocal fanbases that will let their cable providers know their need to see the teams on cable. I'm sure the thought of all the Rutgers and Maryland die hards switching to DirecTV scares the cable providers way more than the thought of losing customers due to increasing cable fees thanks to yet another sports channel they don't watch.


December 12th, 2012 at 4:49 PM ^

As the article says:

So that means for every 1 million cable subscribers in those markets -- subscribers, not people actually watching the Big Ten Network, just those with cable -- the Big Ten will make an additional $650,000 a month, or $7.8 million a year. 

My understanding/belief is that adding those two schools was mostly about adding cable dollars, which doesn't really require people to watch the BTN...Whether this ploy will work is another story. 


December 12th, 2012 at 5:14 PM ^

The York Dispatch has an interesting take - (LINK)

It talks about the competition in the New York market a bit. When the YES Network launched, it was two years before Cablevision opted to carry it. Time Warner was stuck in neutral with the MSG network, which carries the Knicks, for a  few months after the season began. 

Something interesting to note here is that while New York has the highest concentration of CFB fans, in surveys they account for only 14% of the population, and the number of people who would list Rutgers as their primary team is about 607,000. 

Indeed, the author here says something that I have thought about and wondered if the BTN would do it, in the end anyway, just to get a foot in the door if the threats weren't working - waive the carriage fee on the first contract and build the viewership to a decent level first, then go back later and discuss prices for continued coverage. 



December 12th, 2012 at 6:27 PM ^

to move BTN to basic, as required in their contracts when a school in that state joins the B10, or they withhold that school's games in those areas or sublicense them out.  


December 13th, 2012 at 12:29 PM ^

they could still try to get on in any markett they want, but the BTN makes more money if there is a school in the footprint.  There might be enough demand now in the NY area, but with a school in the footprint, the cost per subscriber goes up a dollar