BTN at 10: A Decade Ago, The Big Ten Network Changed Everything

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rockyh's picture

I'm curious to see how the movement towards cable-cutting is going to affect the BTN.  Unfortunately the free market drive towards people choosing what channels/subscriptions they want is going to continue to be held up by giant telecom conglomerates and their regional monopolies and [NO POLITICS].  But it's happening nonetheless, just slower.  I wonder at what point BTN cuts out the middleman and provides BTN2Go/BTN+ as a direct subscription service, like Netflix for college sports?

"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull." - W.C. Fields

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BunnySelfDestruct's picture

I suspect it will flow where it has already started to. Things like Playstation Vue and Sling, along with HULU and YouTube's live TV packages have already started building their lineups around live sports. If these streaming services survive against the coming net neutrality changes this will likely be where many cord cutters land. The B1G will likely go where bundling gets them more money than a-la-cart service.

Sites like https://wherecaniwatchmy.team/#/ exist to advise on which streaming services to purchase.

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RossWB's picture

My guess is that BTN will try to cater to all markets. They'll stay on existing cable/satellite services to appeal to folks who still use those. They'll get on services like Sling TV, Hulu TV, Youtube TV, and Playstation Vue to appeal to folks who are breaking away from the cable/satellite monopolies. And I would bet they'll also offer a subscription service at some point, although probably not too soon; I doubt they want to undercut their partners in cable/satellite/internet fields (and they may be contractually barred from doing so at this point, too). 

chitownhawkeye's picture

Those days prior to BTN were rough.  Maybe I could find a bar that had a sports tier or enough channels to see Iowa Football.  Maybe.  More likely, I'd have it on gamecast while watching other games hoping to see highlights.

Delany has done some things poorly in his tenure, but BTN was a HoF moment for him, and the conference.    As a fan, despite the problems it has, it's been a lifesaver.

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HoustonHawkeye's picture

And because Delany turned college sports viewing on its head without the guidance/permission of the NCAA (and led to ExpansionPalooza), he's be on triple-secret probation and won't be admitted to the HOF.

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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Fryser Soze's picture

In the pre-BTN days, up in the frozen tundra, I remember buying a subscription through Yahoo Sports for a radio stream of Iowa games.  You weren't even guaranteed it would be the Gary Dolphin stream, either, so I listened to the 6-4 PSU game via the Penn State stream.

WE ARE SCHADENFREUDE

Formerly YouCanPutYourEddsInIt

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RossWB's picture

How did they get through that without copious amounts of drinking or swearing? 

HoyaGoon's picture

Love it or hate it, BTN changed everything.

I will not sit idly bye while you ignore the paradigm-altering affects that was the creation of Cyclones.tv! GOOD DAY, SIR!! 

Just another garbage commenter spreading my *sshole all over the internet.

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iowamutt's picture

I believe the Iowa/Montana game was the last to not be broadcast...one year before BTN. I remember the 1990 Iowa/Minnesota game wasn't on TV even though it had Rose Bowl implications. 

Woof.

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Big Game Today's picture

I'm thinking that the last (probably forever) Iowa football to not be broadcast was Iowa-Minnesota in 2001.

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matsumoto's revenge's picture

Yep, this is the last one. Remember listening on the radio.

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RossWB's picture

Iowa-Montana was on ESPNU, actually, per my research. 

The last game that wasn't televised at all was in the early 00s, I think. 

HoustonHawkeye's picture

Not watching Iowa football weekly in '99 and '00 wasn't always a punishment...

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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Gnayden Fry's picture

I thought I read that BTN was now available on Hulu and one of the other streaming services, so I think that move is already started

Hawkeye Homer Extraordinaire

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KSHawkI's picture

That is accurate. Hulu TV also just rolled out their PC and Mac viewing option.

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rickmoranis's picture

This is true.  I get BTN through Hulu via Amazon Fire TV.  Works great so far.  

Honey, I shrunk the kids.

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Muck1979's picture

I was living in Omaha at the time and was shelling out some decent $$ to get whatever ESPN pay package carried those ESPN+ games.  Of course, after BTN started, Cox Cable didn't carry the network, so I was forced to venture out to a bar to watch football and basketball games and would just hope there wasn't a Cornhusker game on at the same time.

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IowaPharmer's picture

ESPN GamePlan. Pretty sure I paid for that for several years to watch the Hawkeyes after I moved to Wisconsin. I would set a VCR timer to record games I couldn't watch live. I also remember moving in the spring of 2005 and we changed to  cable because my wife didn't want a dish on the new house. That ended in late summer when the local cable provider didn't offer BTN, and DIRECTV did which now had become the best option to see the Hawkeyes  I think I even kept GamePlan that year because there were no BTN overflow channels.  IIRC, GamePlan was $150 for the season.  Totally worth it, but I'm glad I don't pay it anymore.

"I know what I'm suggesting." -therealCatnuts

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Lukateake's picture

Whippersnappers! I spent many a college Saturday watching the crawler of other televised games just to get an updated Iowa score. (Only to have a commercial break intercede.) This was during the early-90s "grunge" years when every coed wore a flannel shirt tied around her waist. After I graduated, spandex-ed yoga attire was invented.

Now get off mah lawn.

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RossWB's picture

Ah, back in the days of this ESPN2 logo?

rockyh's picture

No radio?

"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull." - W.C. Fields

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HoustonHawkeye's picture

Sports are not DVR-proof.  All you have to do is set the DVR, go drive all over the city of Houston (or Chicago, or Des Moines, or Ottosen) for soccer matches all day Saturday, and then listen to music-only stations that NEVER give sports scores. 

Oh yeah, pay no head to Tweeter, TV channels with scrolls, emails and texts from family members that like to fuck with you because they know you're DVR'ing the game, etc. as well...

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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EnergizerHawk's picture

For a few people, this works. But in general, Live Sports are DVR proof in that the numbers of people actually DVR'ing the games and waiting to watch the game will never be more than a small percentage. Too many people like watching sports live, that the advertisers can bank on them watching the commercials at least in passing. DVR people can fast forward through the commercials, but they run the risk of being spoiled unless they truly do not care. 

The term "DVR-proof", to me - indicates that the percentage of people using their DVR to consume sports at a later time will never be a majority. 

#BreakingtheInternet since 2009

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Fran or Astro-Fran's picture

I remember how long it took for Mediacom to get BTN in the Quad Cities... it involved me listening to Lickliter-era basketball games on the radio. RADIO!!! LICKLITER!!! Dark times, my friends...

Formerly Angle's Dangle

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icardinal's picture

Yeah, same here in Iowa City.  I distinctly remember Iowa Basketball not being on TV at all that year BTN first started.  It more or less killed my interest in basketball.  Out of sight, out of mind. :(

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RossWB's picture

I don't remember exactly when Mediacom got BTN in Iowa City. It wasn't a huge problem during football season, I remember -- I went to the home games and only 1-2 of the road games ended up on BTN, as I recall. And I think they worked out a deal for them to air on local TV or something.

It was definitely a bigger problem during basketball season as I'm pretty sure they didn't do that local TV deal for BTN. But I also remember watching most Iowa hoops games that year (unfortunately)... huh. In any event, 07-08 was the first year of Lickliter, so Iowa hoops wasn't exactly must-see TV. 

2007-08 has to be one of the lousiest years for Iowa sports in recent memory. The football team was aggressively mediocre and there was the whole Everson/Satterfield ugliness to make things worse. The basketball team was headed down, down, down... That was the first year of wrestling's national title three-peat, so at least we could have one nice thing. 

Basketball only got worse for the next few years, but the 2008 and 2009 football seasons made it easier to ignore the hoops struggles.

RossWB's picture

Lick-ball was the perfect speed for radio, actually. 

HoyaGoon's picture

Or telegraph

Just another garbage commenter spreading my *sshole all over the internet.

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RossWB's picture

Carrier pigeon also effective.