Wednesday, September 3

Big 10 Network comes to cable

For those of you that live in Big 10 country, there was a lot of flaming going on last year when the new network started and put at least 2 games from each team on that network. Only available on satellite due to contract issues with the cable companies, a lot of fans flocked to local bars and restaurants when they couldn't see the games on regular cable.

Well, last week around this time, Time Warner finally came to an agreement to carry the network on the regular cable tier in the Big 10 regions. I don't have ESPN, but I do have the B10 Network because the signal comes in on a channel that comes with local channels.

So why is this important?

One of the biggest problems in covering all the teams of each conference is being able to watch all the games. And frankly, watching all the games is nearly impossible all in one day! So with this network that is dedicated only to this conference, they fill their times with game rebroadcasts and coaches' shows from all the teams. They also play historical games, meaningful games from the conference's past. This gives you a sense of the ups and downs of the conference, the styles that have changed and the eras that defined this conference.

However, the biggest detriment is the lack of talent on their sportscast. I don't know who they hired for the OSU game this past weekend, but listening to Paul Keels on the radio was 10 times better than the ones on TV. And what made it so different? I fathom that Keels' long history as an announcer for Ohio State games, from football, basketball, and anything that's broadcast over the airwaves gives him a depth of knowledge that these new casters don't have.

The SEC signed a multi-billion dollar deal with ESPN. Good for them! They will have ESPN quality sportscasters broadcasting their games - however you won't get the breadth of coverage that the B10 Network gives to each team.

So I'm sitting watching the B10 network, catching in depth coverage of Illinois, Michigan State, and Indiana. And it's free. And somehow, it's better than scrounging for information on paid and free sites across the internet.