News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

December 18, 2007

Big Ten Network leaves fans wanting

TERRE HAUTE — Across the Wabash Valley, disgruntled sports fans are wondering what happened to IU basketball — but not the highly ranked Hoosier team itself, which won eight of its first nine games with Terre Haute’s Armon Bassett often starting at point guard and freshman sensation Eric Gordon averaging more than 20 points a game.

The problem is finding the games on television. Except for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge game vs. Georgia Tech, which was on basic cable on ESPN, IU games have not been accessible to area fans who are in the habit of catching their sports at home on cable or antenna TV. Illinois and Purdue fans are having the same difficulty catching their teams’ games on TV.

These games are broadcast on TV by the Big Ten Network.

The network, which began full service in August, is having a disagreement with most Midwestern cable TV companies. Their issues are centered on money and programming options. Unless a fan lives in a community with a cable company that has reached an agreement with the Big Ten Network, the fan is blacked out unless they go either to sports bars, install a satellite TV system such as Dish Network or DIRECTV, or have a computer that enables them to watch the games by video streaming.

The ongoing blackout has basketball fans upset.

Dave Treadway, an IU fan who lives between Terre Haute and Brazil, isn’t a bit happy about the dispute.

“We’re being victimized by the cable companies and the Big Ten Network,” Treadway complained while watching an IU game in Terre Haute’s Copper Bar. “I’m paying Cable Brazil $75 a month. In the past two years, my rates have gone up from $57. Now I can get 10 musical channels that I never watch, movies and much more, but not IU games even if I would pay extra for them.”

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