WOW to Carry Big Ten Network

Cable operator WideOpenWest struck a deal to carry Big Ten Network in time for this weekend’s games.

WOW -- the nation’s 11th-largest cable-system operator, with 400,000 subscribers -- will carry the network on its expanded-basic tier in the eight states where there are Big Ten colleges, including Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana.

"We recognize how important these games are to Big Ten fans and are pleased we were able to reach an arrangement with Big Ten Network that makes sense for all of our customers," WOW president and CEO Colleen Abdoulah said in a statement.

With the addition of WOW, Big Ten Network -- a partnership between the Big Ten Conference and News Corp. that airs college athletics -- is now being carried on four of the eight largest pay TV services in the eight-state Big Ten region.

Carriers include DirecTV, EchoStar Communications’ Dish Network (), Insight Communications, Buckeye CableSystem and AT&T U-verse TV.

"We are tremendously pleased that WOW, along with over 140 television distributors, recognizes that fans throughout the Midwest want to have access to the wide variety of games, events and programs available on the Big Ten Network,” president Mark Silverman said in a statement. “While we still have a way to go, we're honored to have reached 30 million homes faster than any other new network in history."

Big Ten Network has engaged in some public battles over terms of carriage fees with cable operators such as Comcast and Mediacom Communications. Some cable operators have complained about the new network’s high carriage fees and want to add it to sports tiers. The network has said that it is a willing negotiator on fees, but it demands carriage on a basic tier.