Penn State Football

Here’s why local PSU fans might not be able to watch the first game on TV

Penn State and college football fans can breath a sigh of relief, Comcast and the Big Ten Network have come to an agreement. Comcast will continue to carry BTN and Big Ten games on FS1 this season.
Penn State and college football fans can breath a sigh of relief, Comcast and the Big Ten Network have come to an agreement. Comcast will continue to carry BTN and Big Ten games on FS1 this season. AP, file

UPDATE: Comcast and Fox Networks Group have come to a deal to continue carrying the Big Ten Network and Big Ten games on Fox Sports 1, the two companies announced Friday evening. Read more here: https://www.centredaily.com/sports/college/penn-state-university/psu-football/article217307005.html

The students are back in town, tailgate supplies line local grocery stores and the Blue Band can be heard practicing in the evening.

Penn State football season is just around around the corner.

So is the deadline for Comcast and the Big Ten Network to finalize their contract extension.

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The 10-year contract between the Philadelphia-based cable giant and Fox-owned Big Ten sports channel is set to expire Aug. 31, and without a deal, Comcast will drop the network — jeopardizing the ability for Comcast subscribers to watch the Big Ten Network, as well as Big Ten games broadcasted on Fox Sports 1.

With a potential BTN blackout, Penn State fans who are Comcast subscribers could miss three of the Nittany Lions’ first four games — Appalachian State, Kent State and Illinois, all of which are either on BTN or FSI.

“Comcast’s agreements with content providers, like the Big Ten Network, expire from time to time,” Comcast said in a statement to the Centre Daily Times on Tuesday. “We are communicating with the Big Ten Network about continuing to carry it after Aug. 31 and look forward to productive negotiations.”

The Big Ten Network declined to issue a further statement about the state of the negotiations, but President Mark Silverman was vocal about the situation at Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago in July.

“BTN and FS1 have made proposals to Comcast dating back to February and we’ve had no substantive response at all,” Silverman said to a room full of reporters. “As a result, we believe BTN and those Big Ten games that air on FS1 are in danger of not being aired on Comcast this coming season. So, we’re letting people know to alert Comcast subscribers of this real possibility that they could lose these games.”

While at media days, Silverman also launched the website keepbigten.com, along with a 30-second video featuring 12 of the 14 conference head coaches — including James Franklin — making a plea to Comcast Xfinity customers to reach out to the company and ask them to keep BTN on the air.

“We love Big Ten football as much as the fans and feel a responsibility to alert Comcast subscribers of the real possibility that they may lose BTN and Big Ten football games on FS1,” a statement on the website from BTN and FS1 reads.

Comcast is Pennsylvania’s largest cable provider, with a large footprint in central Pennsylvania — including the Penn State campus. It also is the primary cable provider in 10 of 14 Big Ten states.

Comcast already cut back on its BTN offerings in April, when it cut the network from out-of-market areas not near Big Ten schools, which elicited a large social media outcry.

That move, Silverman said, was “just the first step in Comcast’s plan to remove BTN from their markets everywhere, including the Big Ten home markets.”

If Comcast does drop BTN, there are other options for college sports fans. Most Centre County residents, according to BTN’s website, can view the Big Ten Network via Windstream, DirecTV, DirecTV Now, Dish Network, FUBO TV, HULU Live and Playstation Vue.

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