Friday, February 1, 2008

Post Season Thoughts Regarding The BTN

Wronge "BTN"

Ah, the Big Ten Network. No one really loves it, some people fucking hate it, but now that a whole season has passed I figured I'd look back and actually figure out how it changed the way I do things.

When I first heard about the BTN, I was drunk at a tailgate. I didn't know what was up but there was something funny about college kids walking around, not to sell things, but to hand me a flyer that simply told me how great this new, conference run network was going to be.

Well the summer came and we all learned the details. The network was for real, they had cameras and everything. And what was worse, they were going to take games from us. Crappy games, yes, but games none the less. People were pissed. I was one of those people.

Well then the season started. Several of us addicts go to the bar to watch college football on Saturday's anyway, and the first weekend was as good an excuse as any to pay way too much for crappy beer we could drink (shotgun, even!) at home for a fraction of the price.

So if the game was on ESPN/ABC, we found a couch to watch it. If it was on the BTN, we found a bar to watch it. The TV coverage on the Network wasn't bad, and the announcers weren't great, but they didn't win any Pammy Awards either.

This is an ESPN Zone, I spent a lot of money at one of these places to see a game that ended with a final score of 59-0

The only game I can honestly say sucked was the Indiana game. The one where Justin King got smoked all day. It was a Noon kickoff and no one wanted to get there on time, the game didn't have any appeal and the season had lost all its luster just a couple weeks before. It did end up being a decent game, though.

I don't live in the Commonwealth and so Penn State basketball might as well not exist as far as national TV coverage is concerned. From what I hear, they get on the Network from time to time. So in that sense I guess it's a good thing.

Now don't get me wrong, the BTN is run by greedy bastards, who are trying to convince a bunch of greedy douchbags to pay $1.10 a subscriber for a lot of shitty to mediocre sporting events. Situations like this are always bullshit. With this much money involved, someone was going to get screwed.

In hindsight, though, maybe I over-reacted a little bit. I didn't really lose much. Being at the bar made the Buffalo game a lot more fun. There wasn't going to be any PSU basketball on anyway.

There is a little noise on the contract front, so I'll try to pull some of that up next week. But for now, I'm going to have to find something else to get riled up about.


Lowcountry Lion said...

I've never read anything in any article about the BTN not being available over cable that states where you CAN find the BTN, DirecTV.

I guess it's not proper to endorse a superior company over the dinosaur that is cable.

The thing I really didn't like about the BTN was not the network itself but how it gave people like John Saunders at ESPN the chance to not-so-subtlely bash the Big Ten conference just because it was getting it's own network. (I have a feeling that he wouldn't say the same thing if USC or the PAC 10 had it's own network.)

I seem to recall that there were some production deals that didn't go ESPN/Disney's way so the morning after Michigan's loss to App. State, Saunders said on the Sports Reporters that "You know which conference is down? The Big Ten." He couldn't help himself.

Overall, I thought that the BTN game presentations were no worse than ESPN and I like the Big Ten-specific pregame shows.

I'd give it a "B-".

Nick said...

Overall, I think the channel is great. I have DirecTV so I have regular access to it. The announcers for the most part are crap, but I can say that for just about any network. There's also the possibility they're relatively new to announcing and will progressively get better (at least I'm hoping). What I like about most is that I've also seen Penn State Wrestling, Volleyball, Field Hockey (seriously, I had no idea what was going on), Gymnastics, and a large number of Basketball games (Men's and Women's) because they're broadcast on the BTN.

Paterno Lives! said...

I think the existence of the network is great. The NFL Network used to run a promo where they ask something like "you have over 300 channels, shouldn't one of them have something you actually want to watch"? That's kind of how I feel. The sound where I watch the BTN games always sucks so I can't comment on the commentary, but I've never once complained about the video feed. I'd love to watch some baseball games on the network, although I haven't heard that they are going to be broadcast.

And I agree nick, as football rating go higher and higher, somehow ESPN hires dumber and dumber people to call games.

BSD said...

I love the BTN, and I generally find that those who hate it don't have it.