Notes From Media Day
August 17, 2011 – | No Comment

Before I begin, I should probably explain why we haven’t posted in a while. Frankly, it’s just been bad timing. I just got back from a study abroad program in Europe, and Charlie is still …

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Expanding The Big Ten’s Footprint? Start in Pennsylvania.

Submitted by on May 17, 2010No Comment

As we’ve examined Big Ten expansion, a common theme has been what the proposed schools would bring to the conference.  More specifically, what media market they would offer, so that the Big Ten Network would reach more viewers.  It’s why Pittsburgh isn’t much of a viable option, and why Rutgers seems to be ideal.

As Penn State fans, we know what a great addition to our fanhood the network has been.  Not only is every football game guaranteed to be aired, but we’re now able to keep tabs on Penn State basketball, too.  Just a few years ago, you had to go to the Bryce Jordan Center to watch more than 2 or 3 Penn State basketball games a season. Now, thanks to the Big Ten Network, virtually every game is televised.

We’ve even had the chance to watch the wrestling team on a regular basis, and seen those volleyball matches and baseball games that we never would’ve had the chance to before.  In total, more than 100 distinct events featuring 24 di Penn State teams were featured last year alone on the Big Ten Network, to go along with another 14 Big Ten championships the network aired.  And heck, how many of us haven’t spent afternoons reliving the greatness of years past, watching the Nittany Lions in the 1995 Rose Bowl or the 1983 Sugar Bowl as part of the “Big Ten’s Greatest Games” program.

In short, the Big Ten Network has transformed the fan experience for all things Nittany Lion.

But as has come to the attention of quebecpenspinning, before the BTN is distributed to New Jerseyites or Missourians, we need to make sure that there are no holes in the coverage within our own state.

Just 83% of Pennsylvania residents have television access to the Big Ten Network, easily the lowest percentage of any Big Ten state’s residents.  More than 90% of households in the Big Ten footprint carry the network, a number that dwarfs Pennsylvania’s coverage.

Though most major carriers have included the network in their basic or expanded packages, three cable providers, in particular, have refused to broadcast the channel.

Even worse, among that 17% is approximately 34,000 Penn State alumni, who have no choice but to subscribe to one of those three providers, because they live in a neighborhood serviced by either Blue Ridge, Armstrong or Metrocast Cable.  And given how Penn State pride has permeated into every corner of the state, there are undoubtedly countless other Nittany Lion fans who are denied the opportunity the rest of us, to cheer on our school on a daily basis, in as many sports we can name.

If you happen to be among that unlucky percentage, don’t be afraid to act.  Though you might not be able to change cable providers, you can switch to DirecTV or Dish Network, each of which will offer you the same opportunity to watch the Big Ten Network as the rest of the state.  If that’s too complicated, challenge your cable provider. Make it known to them just how important the BTN is to you, as a customer, and try and find other Penn State alums and fans who can back you up.  Other providers have caved.  As far east as Long Island, my cable provider, Cablevision, recently offered the capability to purchase and watch the Big Ten Network.  So too does BrightHouse Network, down in Florida.  For those just a stone’s throw from State College to be denied the same ability to watch their team is shameful.

If you’re a true Penn State fan, you can’t go without the Big Ten Network.  I know, this sounds like an advertisement for the channel, but it’s really true.  I never would’ve imagined that I’d be watching the Big Ten Network more than ESPN, or
Plus, they've got Charissa Thompson
how much I’d miss a television channel during Winter or Spring break.  Those of you who don’t get access to the BTN don’t even know what you’re missing out on.

There are still about three months before Penn State football takes the field once again.  For the 110,000 inside Beaver Stadium, and the millions around the state who receive the Big Ten Network, it will be a return to our cherished fall traditions.  But for the 17% of Pennsylvania residents, blacked out by their cable provider? It’s a reminder that you need to act.  Whether it’s switching providers or simply writing a letter or making a phone call to your cable company, do something.

And for those of us fortunate enough to get the Big Ten Network? That doesn’t mean we should be silent, either.  We speak loudest in numbers, and the only way to right this wrong is through mass action.  Attached, you can find the contact information for Metrocast, Armstrong, and Blue Ridge cable.  Do your friends a favor, and make the call.

Maybe then, every Penn State fan and alumnus will have the same access to their favorite team as they deserve.

Armstrong Cable


Blue Ridge

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