Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Big Ten Network: Event Equality by 3rd year

Eric Crawford of the Courier-Journal writes about the Big Ten Network starting in August. Of course, it will be a premium channel for which viewers will have to pay extra money. The channel will air men's football and men's basketball games which are not aired on ESPN or ABC as well as women's sports and men's non-revenue sports. The Big Ten Network also promises to have an equal number of women's and men's sports by the 3rd year. The major cable providers (Comcast, MediaCom) are apparently apprehensive to pick up the station. According to Crawford, "Comcast president David Cohen questioned whether it is worth the hefty fee for what he considers a 'niche' network carrying second-rate games. In a memo on the subject, he said, 'Indiana [men's, word and emphasis added] basketball fans don't want to watch Iowa play volleyball.'"

Overall, the idea of event equality is great. But I wonder why it will take them 3 years to achieve this goal? Why can't they have event equality in the first year? And then, will event equality mean that the day and times sports are being aired are equal? For example, during men's football and women's soccer season, will we see both sports aired during the prime times? Hopefully, the network will survive 3 years and ultimately achieve their goal, perhaps even allowing for event equality on the major broadcast networks. I also hope that there are good producers and people in charge of the Big Ten Network that will work to create change for both women's and men's sport on the institutional and social level.

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