Countdown Is On

Joe Paterno and Co. could be in five BTN games.

Holdout cable companies in Pennsylvania running out of time to cut deals with BTN. Network president "concerned" it won't happen.

CHICAGO -- Penn State fans living in Pennsylvania who are served by cable companies not carrying the Big Ten Network had better brace themselves.

The Nittany Lions' first three games this season are all on the BTN, and two more outings, including a key conference clash at Illinois Oct. 3, will likely land on the network.

Those holding out hope for a last-second deal between the cable companies and the BTN may be disappointed, according to network president Mark Silverman.

“We've been talking with operators like Blue Ridge, Armstrong and Atlantic Broadband, and don't have deals done yet,” Silverman said. “We're trying to get them to understand this is a network their fans want to see. Unfortunately at this point, there hasn't been much development on that end and I'm a bit concerned deals may not get done before kickoff.”

From Silverman's perspective, smaller cable companies like Blue Ridge, Armstrong and Atlantic Broadband simply have to decide whether they want the network on the network's terms. Or not.

He added that they are being offered deals similar to the one signed by Comcast last year following a long, sometimes tense negotiation.

“There really is no negotiation,” he said, “because it's been negotiated by Comcast and others.”

According to Silverman, the Pennsylvania communities being served by Blue Ridge, Armstrong and Atlantic Broadband are the only places in the natural Big Ten area not receiving the BTN.

The BTN is not spending advertising dollars in an attempt to get the public on its side in these instances, as it did in the drawn-out negotiations with Comcast. From Silverman's perspective, it is up to the subscribers of the cable companies in question to ask for the network if they want it.

“There is more value than a subscriber may realize in calling the cable company and asking for the status of the network and saying they'd like to get the network,” Silverman said.

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