Big Ten Network, Armstrong are still at odds
College Football Videos
The impasse between the Big Ten Network and Armstrong Cable continues.
Saturday's college football opener between Penn State and Indiana State at Beaver Stadium will be featured on the Big Ten Network, which is available to more than 80 million homes nationwide. However, the game won't be available to approximately 18,000 Armstrong subscribers in Greater Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, continuing a trend that has existed throughout the history of the network.
Moreover, unlike previous negotiations, when both sides agreed that progress had been made, Big Ten Network officials suggest that a deal to televise Penn State games on Armstrong won't be reached in time for this season and that an agreement may never be reached.
"Armstrong's not going to carry the network," said Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman. "I don't anticipate it ever changing. ... I think the evidence is pretty clear. For them to mislead people that we're still negotiating, that they're still thinking about it after four years, is extreme.
"They should tell people we're not carrying the network. After four years of this, they're not going to do it. It's not going to happen."
Silverman said the Big Ten Network has agreements with more than 300 affiliates, including Comcast and Time Warner. The network televises live and tape-delayed broadcasts in 95 percent of the Big Ten region.
David Wittmann, Armstrong's vice president of cable marketing in Butler, stressing that a "strong effort was made over the past four months to try and resolve the situation," conceded that negotiations "are not moving forward at the present time. Things can change, but at this moment, it doesn't look promising."
Wittmann added, "We're very disappointed we haven't been able to find a solution to the problem for the segment of our customer base that is interested in Penn State athletics."
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley said frustration stems from Armstrong being the largest cable provider under the Big Ten umbrella — with more than 200,000 subscribers — that doesn't carry the network. Curley encouraged Penn State supporters to voice that frustration by contacting Armstrong, which has continued to raise its rates since it first rejected offers from the network in 2008.
"Either put enough pressure on Armstrong or switch to some other options that are available," Curley said.
Cable outlets raising rates is a common occurrence. Other outlets, such as Comcast, which carries the Big Ten Network, continue to raise rates for subscribers.
"I certainly think that whether you're Armstrong or any other cable provider, you want to respond to what your subscribers' interest is," Curley said. "I think if Penn Staters do reach out and let Armstrong know, I think Armstrong will respond."
The impasse is primarily a result of the Big Ten's refusal to be considered a premium channel such as HBO or Showtime.
Neither side appears willing to budge on the issue.
"The biggest challenge that any video provider has is controlling the cost of service that goes to our customers," said Wittmann, who has said sports programming accounts for approximately 40 percent of Armstrong's cost on basic cable.
According to Wittmann, part of Armstrong's negotiation strategy involved trying not to make every customer pay for sports programming.
"That's what our customers talk to us about every day, do everything we can to control the cost of basic cable service," Wittmann said.
Silverman said the Big Ten Network doesn't agree with Armstrong's policy of not wanting to absorb the additional cost of the network.
"Armstrong raises rates every single year (between $2 and $3) and they haven't had the Big Ten Network," Silverman said. "(Subscribers) don't have to pay any more money. No one else in the Big Ten area throughout the midwest has to pay additional money. What (Armstrong) is talking about is not paying for the Big Ten Network. They want the customer to pay for it by putting it on their sports tier, and that's what every other (cable) provider throughout the midwest region has said we're not doing and provided it on the extended-basic level of service."
Out of service
Pennsylvania cable providers who don't carry the Big Ten Network:
Pennsylvania cable/telco/satellite providers who carry the Big Ten Network:
Beaver Valley Cable
Borough of Kutztown
Brockway Cable TV
CATV Service, Inc.
Citizens Telecommunications Technologies
Mapleton TV Antenna Corp.
Millheim TV Transmission
North Penn/ Community Cable Corp.
RCN Telecom Services
Service Electric Cable TV & Communications
Service Electric Broadband Cable
Service Electric Cablevision
Somerfield Cable TV
Time Warner Cable
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Coach Johnston trying to figure out why Penguins ‘fell off a cliff’
- Injured Penguins optimistic about returning next season
- Protest planned Monday at Plum Borough High School
- Crosby, Malkin want to remain in Pittsburgh
- Behind starter Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Diamondbacks
- Pirates notebook: Wainwright injury doesn’t sway Hurdle on DH
- Counselors available at Hempfield after crash kills student
- Washington’s Shelton grows into big role, looks forward to draft
- Hempfield teen hurt in single-vehicle crash
- Oak Ridge couple transforms 1820 house into quaint bed and breakfast
- Forbes Avenue jeweler’s embedded sidewalk sign safely slides out to make way for Pittsburgh Playhouse project