As pointed out on the boards this morning, a Sports Business Journal story today posits that the BTN has a way around the fact that they already are on the expanded tiers in much of the NYC and DC markets. Come 2014, the Big Ten may simply refuse to air Rutgers and Maryland games not picked up nationally anywhere on television in an effort to pressure local cable companies to cave, and carry the channels on a basic tier.
This is nothing new for Rutgers fans, who were used as a pawn in the fight between ESPN and Cablevision over ESPN3 in 2010 and 2011. ESPN simply made all of its Rutgers games ESPN3 exclusives so that local regional sports network SNY could not pick up the Rutgers games, as it is normally apt to do. ESPN did not care that Comcast did already have the service. Bowing to furious Rutgers fans, Cablevision did finally cave this season, and now Rutgers football games are magically on SNY again.