UPDATE: Big Ten Network, DISH Reach Agreement In Principle

By: Phil Levin Email
By: Phil Levin Email

UPDATED Saturday, September 8, 2012 --- 11:30 a.m.

From Big Ten Network:

Big Ten Network (BTN) and DISH have come together to reach an agreement in principle for DISH to continue carrying BTN. We expect to finalize a long-term agreement soon and we thank fans for their patience.


UPDATED Saturday, September 1, 2012 --- 5:40 a.m.

Big Ten Network released the following statement overnight:

BTN and DISH have agreed to a short-term arrangement. Discussions will continue towards a long-term agreement. Enjoy today’s season-opening games. Thank you for your continued support.

NOTE from NBC15: Saturday's Badgers game will now be available to all DISH subscribers.


UPDATED: Saturday, September 1, 2012 -- 4:46 a.m.

Saturday morning a spokesperson for the Big Ten Network tweeted "BTN, DISH agree to short-term arrangement. Discussions continue toward long-term agreement. Thanks for your continued support."

The contract between DISH and BTN expired Friday at midnight. Saturday's Badgers game will now be available to all DISH


UPDATED: Friday, August 21, 2012 --- 6:15 p.m.

Big Ten Network representatives say negotiations are ongoing, but there is still no agreement.

"We're pretty far apart," said BTN Spokesperson Elizabeth Conlisk. "We are talking but it's not looking good."

Conlisk says DISH is turning down rates that other providers already pay. She was unable to disclose details of the negotiations.

"DISH is insisting on getting preferential treatment, on getting terms that are significantly below market value and what other distributors are receiving," she said.

The current 5-year deal expires at midnight.


UPDATED: Friday, August 31, 2012 --- 3:15 p.m.

A DISH Network representative says if the contract expires, subscribers may not be able to cancel their contracts to switch providers.

An agreement between DISH and the Big Ten Network, partially owned by FOX, still has not been reached. The current contract expires at midnight.

"Like other pay TV providers we do have contracts in place. It is common in our industry to reserve the right to alter programming as appropriate," said DISH Representative Bob Toevs. "That is both in terms of programming that we might not carry because we aren't able to come to agreeable business terms that benefit all parties, including our customers, but that also includes adding other content too."

Toevs says "lines of communication" remain open with the Big Ten Network.

BTN estimates more than two million customers receive their programming from DISH. There are about 70,000 DISH customers in the NBC 15 viewing area.


UPDATED Friday, August 31, 2012 --- 12:15 p.m.

According to the Big Ten Network homepage, an agreement between the Big Ten Network and DISH has not been reached as of this hour.

As NBC15 first reported earlier this week, a five-year contract between the Big Ten Network and DISH Network expires today.

If no agreement is reached, DISH will drop the Big Ten Network until a new agreement is worked out.

The Wisconsin Badgers are scheduled to debut against Northern Iowa on the Big Ten Network at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. If DISH drops the Big Ten Network, Badger fans won't be able to watch the game on DISH.


UPDATED: Thursday, August 30, 2012 --- 8:00p.m.

Statement from Barry Alvarez:

Dear Badger fans,

I am writing with an important message about Big Ten Network that will greatly affect some UW fans. As you may know, BTN reaches more than 50 million homes nationally through partnerships with more than 300 cable, satellite and telco providers. The network televises approximately 80 Badger events every year, and will carry this Saturday’s football season opener.

However, the carriage agreement between Dish Network and BTN is set to expire on Saturday, Dish Network plans to drop BTN from its programming lineup before Saturday’s game vs. Northern Iowa.

The American Television Alliance has reported that during carriage disputes Dish Network has dropped 22 networks from its channel lineup in the past two and a half years alone, including sports networks like MSG and SNY, which broadcast NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS games, and non-sports networks like AMC that air popular shows such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

Now, Dish Network plans to drop BTN before the first Saturday of the college football season. If you want them to keep BTN in their programming lineup so that you can continue to watch the Badgers this season, plus the premiere of The Journey: Big Ten Football 2012, Tailgate 48, #BTNLive, 105 men’s basketball games, 55 women’s basketball games and your other favorite Big Ten Network programming, here’s what you can do to help:

• Visit www.IWantBTN.com to learn more
• Call 1-855-926-8210 to reach Dish Network customer service
• Leave a comment on Dish Network’s Facebook page
• Follow @IWantBTN on Twitter and use the hashtag #IWantBTN

Thanks for your continued support of BTN, a valuable partner to Wisconsin athletics.


Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 --- 10:30p.m.

Some DISH viewers may miss the beginning of the Big Ten football season, if an agreement is not renewed.

A five-year contract between the Big Ten Network and DISH Network expires at the end of the month on Friday, a day before the start of the college football season. The Wisconsin Badgers are scheduled to debut against Northern Iowa on the Big Ten Network at 2:30 p.m.

Big Ten Network Spokesperson Elizabeth Conlisk tells NBC 15 that negotiations are ongoing, but an agreement is yet to be reached. The "I Want my BTN!" website says other providers have already agreed to a similar price increase.

DISH Network declined to answer specific questions. Spokesperson John Hall said "DISH is always open to proposals from programmers that offer our customers high quality programming at a good value."

Earlier this summer, DISH dropped the AMC channel after failing to reach an agreement in a similar negotiation.

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