TRAVERSE CITY -- For most local television viewers who turn on their set today, the Big Ten Network (BTN) will not be there.
The fledgling network, which promises to broadcast a large array of Big Ten sporting events from football to baseball to wrestling, currently is available to DirecTV subscribers. Comcast and Time Warner have also failed to strike a deal with the Big Ten Network.
Charter Communications -- which provides most of northern Michigan with cable television service -- did not have a deal with the Big Ten Network as of Wednesday evening, Charter director of communications John Miller said.
The Big Ten Network launches broadcast operations today.
"Talks between Charter and the Big Ten Network are ongoing," Miller said. "Both sides are in contact with each other."
The hang up in talks is where to put the BTN. The Big Ten wants it available on basic cable packages, but Charter is aiming to have it on its subscription sports tier.
"We need the flexibility to distribute the Big Ten Network to fans of the Big Ten, but we need to protect our customers that are not interested in the Big Ten to not impact the cost," Miller said.
Although Miller said he didn't know the exact cost of the service because he isn't part of the negotiations, the figure would put it somewhere in the range of being the third most costly channel Charter offers, behind only ESPN and Fox Sports Net.
Miller went on to say that many Big Ten football games will still be available on other networks this season.
"Some of our customers believe that all Michigan or Michigan State games will only be on the Big Ten Network, which is not true," Miller said.
Miller said many football games will be shown on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU this season. The Michigan State-Notre Dame game on Sept. 22 is on NBC.
Miller said Charter plans to add ESPNU to the digital sports tier in the Traverse City market in early September.
Of Michigan's first three games, the opener against Appalachian State is on the Big Ten Network and the next two (Oregon and Notre Dame) are on ABC. The rest of Michigan's TV appearances are undecided.
Michigan State is scheduled so far for two appearances on BTN -- Sept. 8 against Bowling Green and Oct. 13 against Indiana. The Spartans' opener against Alabama-Birmingham is on ESPN2, their week three game against Pittsburgh is on ESPN and week four against Notre Dame appears on NBC. The Oct. 20 game with Ohio State is on ABC. The remainder of the TV appearances are undecided.
The Big Ten Network says it will offer fans 39 football games, 140 regular-season basketball games, more than 55 women's basketball games, Big Ten championship games, soccer, field hockey, volleyball, baseball, wrestling and all of the other NCAA sports.
Insight Communications will provide the BTN in Columbus, Ohio, Evansville, Ind. and Kentucky.