Penn State and Big Ten football fans can breathe a sigh of relief, Comcast and the Big Ten Network have come to an agreement.
In a joint announcement Friday, Comcast and Fox Networks Group, owner of BTN and Fox Sports 1, said they have reached an agreement for Comcast to continue carrying the Big Ten conference’s sports channel.
The 10-year deal between the Philadelphia-based cable giant and BTN was set to expire Aug. 31. And as the start of the college football season inched closer, fear increased that Comcast subscribers would not be able to watch their favorite Big Ten teams on BTN or FS1.
“Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast will continue to offer Big Ten Network to its customers in states with Big Ten universities (Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey,Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin),” the announcement read. “Xfinity customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Virginia/Beltway area will also continue to receive the network given their proximity to Big Ten schools.”
The announcement also said that in the coming months, customers outside of Big Ten states will have access to BTN as part of Comcast’s Sports and Entertainment package.
Comcast had notably cut back on its BTN offerings in April, when it took the network from out-of-market areas not near Big Ten schools, which elicited a large social media outcry.
“Penn State is pleased that BTN and FS1 have reached an agreement with Comcast, ensuring fans enjoy BTN and the Big Ten on FS1,” Sandy Barbour, Penn State director of athletics, said. “Thanks to our students, alumni and fans for your support.”
If the two companies had failed to come to a deal, Penn State football fans wouldn’t have been able to watch three of the first four games, including next Saturday’s season opener against Appalachian State, on Comcast.
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.