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Time Warner Moves BTN to Basic Cable in Nebraska

In a joint press release, Time Warner and the Big Ten Network announced that Time Warner will be adding the Big Ten Network to basic cable lineups in Nebraska. That means that cable subscribers in Lincoln, Columbus, Fremont, Falls City, Seward, and York will now not have to subscribe to digital cable to receive BTN. In addition, that ensures that those cable companies will be carrying Nebraska games this fall.

This means that Omaha's Cox Cable is the largest television service in Nebraska that has not agreed to updated terms with BTN to televise Nebraska games.  Cox currently carries BTN on the digital package under an agreement reached when Omaha was considered out of the Big Ten's market area.  BTN charges cable companies higher rates to cable companies inside the Big Ten market area than they charge companies outside it.

If enough cable companies fail to sign up to the BTN's new package for Nebraska, Husker games won't be televised directly by BTN. Instead, those games will be televised separately and the broadcasts only offered to cable and satellite providers who have revised their agreements with the BTN to reflect Nebraska's membership in the Big Ten.

What the heck does that mean for folks in Nebraska?  Simple.  If your cable or satellite provider has revised their deal with BTN (Time Warner Cable, or DirecTV, for example), or if your cable or satellite provider has just added BTN (for example, Qwest Choice TV), you'll see Nebraska games this fall.  It may - or may not - be televised on the actual BTN channel, or another channel.  But you'll have the game somewhere on your TV.  If you've had the BTN on your cable system prior to Nebraska joining the Big Ten, you may need to double check with your cable provider.

And for folks outside of Nebraska, well, it's the status quo.

Hopefully the next step for Nebraska and the Big Ten is to formally announce the television plans for the Chattanooga (2:30 pm) and Fresno State (6 pm) games.  My guess is that the last remaining hurdle is for Cox Cable and BTN to complete a revised agreement.