Big Ten Network Inks RCN Deal

As expected, RCN signed a deal to distribute Big Ten Network in metropolitan Chicago and in Pennsylvania.

The deal reached Friday evening enabled RCN customers to watch the network’s lineup of college football action this past weekend.

“We’re pleased to have reached an agreement to bring the Big Ten Network to our customers throughout Chicago and our Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania markets where these schools and their activities are often seen as cornerstones to the local community,” RCN CEO Peter Aquino said in a release.

The startup network, a joint venture of the conference’s 11 schools and of Fox National Cable Sports Networks, will be added to RCN’s expanded basic service in Chicago communities including the Gold Coast lakefront, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Streeterville, Hyde Park, Rogers Park and several other regions that surround Northwestern University.

BTN was added to RCN’s expanded basic lineup in Eastern Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley systems owned by RCN as well.

Earlier last Friday, BTN announced a deal with cable provider WideOpenWest.

It has distribution deals with DirecTV, Dish Network and enough cable providers to be able to claim 30 million customers a month after launch. Although officials note that it has signed all of the major alternative providers, BTN still lacks agreements with several key distributors, notably Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Mediacom Communications, Charter Communications and Cox Communications in Big Ten states.