Mediacom Ready For BTN Kickoff

As expected, Mediacom has scored a deal to carry the Big Ten Network on its expanded basic service in states home to the conference.

The pact, terms of which were not disclosed, will enable the operator to offer BTN in time for the kickoff of the conference’s football season this Saturday in select markets.

Pennsylvania aside, Mediacom serves customers in seven of the eight states in the conference’s footprint, with large presences in Illinois and Iowa, where it is the predominant cable provider.

Mediacom will phase in its rollout of the service, owned by the 11 member schools and Fox Cable National Sports Group in the weeks ahead and will alert its customer base to the launch game plan via messaging on its Web site, www., according to operator officials.

Clicking a button on the area on the site that is scheduled to go live this afternoon, subscribers will be able to type in their zip code and find out when BTN is scheduled to launch and on what channel. Mediacom vice president of legal and public affairs Tom Larsen said the operator may open up temporary channels at first to make sure the game action is as widely available at first, before establishing permanent locations.  

The deal also gives Mediacom access to BTN high-definition and video-on-demand content.

Like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter, the nation’s eighth largest cable operator sat out BTN’s rookie season over pricing and positioning issues.

Time Warner Cable and Charter have reached agreements in principal to carry the service in time for Saturday’s game action, but the operators have yet to officially announce that the deals have been consummated. Comcast launched the service on Aug. 15.