As of early this morning, Dish Network and the Big Ten Network were unable to come to an official carrier agreement. The national satellite provider dropped the Big Ten Network from all of its packages, leaving more than 2 million people nationally without the BTN ahead of Saturday's games.
Elizabeth Conlisk, the Big Ten Network's vice president in charge of communications and university relations, confirmed the news in a statement released early Saturday morning:
As of September 14th, BTN’s distribution agreement with Dish expired despite our best efforts to finalize an agreement. We are disappointed that Dish does not see the value in the network in the same way that so many of their customers do, including Big Ten students, alumni, fans and viewers across the country who continue to pay Dish for a channel they no longer receive.
Indiana's Saturday night game against Ball State will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Fans with Dish and looking for other options are encouraged to visit www.iwantbtn.com.
UPDATED: 12:21 p.m.
Dish Network responded to our request for comment. This is from Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming:
"Big Ten Network was demanding that DISH pay programming fees at least a third higher than any other major distributor. Such an increase would equate to more than DISH pays per subscriber for NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA Network, NHL Network and Golf Channel combined, and would result in unreasonable monthly fees for DISH customers.
“DISH will continue to work diligently around the clock in good-faith negotiations with Fox, part owner of Big Ten Network. We hope they will adopt a more reasonable attitude in regard to the price they want to charge, so we can make that channel available to DISH customers again."
Still looking into how permanent this is, but my guess is the shutoff could last a little while. Will report back when I have more.