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Penn State games may not air on Comcast if BTN/FS1 can't reach deal with Comcast

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Penn State games may not air on Comcast if BTN/FS1 can't reach deal with Comcast

I will have no choice but to leave Comcast if this happens...


CHICAGO -- Have Comcast? Want to watch Penn State and other Big Ten football games this fall?

If you answered yes to both of those questions, you might be out of luck come Sept. 1, when the Lions open the 2018 season opposite Appalachian State at Beaver Stadium and on the Big Ten Network.

FOX Sports National Networks and BTN President Mark Silverman spent much of his time on stage at the Big Ten Media Days here on Tuesday speaking about the company that he says is 'the primary cable provider' inside of the Big Ten's footprint, mostly because of a continued dispute between the two sides that could leave conference games off of Comcast airwaves this fall, and the cable giant could drop BTN from its channel listings altogether. 

Confused? Let's take a step back.

In April, news broke that Comcast had decided to drop Big Ten Network from its channel lineups in states without a conference team, which means if you are a Comcast subscriber in Florida but want to watch the conference's channel, you cannot. 

Silverman posited on Tuesday that he feared it was the start of something worse for Big Ten football fans as BTN's 10-year contract with Comcast expires on Aug. 31, and no new deal has been signed. 

"Unfortunately, my fear is the removal of BTN in the outer market may just be the first step in Comcast's plan to remove BTN from their systems everywhere, including the Big Ten home markets," Silverman said.

And now, for the key part as it relates to Penn State and Big Ten watchers in conference-affiliated states: Even if BTN and Comcast can't reach a deal meaning the station could and likely would drop from Comcast's lineup, conference games on FS1 could be in limbo, too, even if the cable provider still carries the channel. 

'In addition to the BTN agreement expiring, so is the agreement for all Big Ten games that air on FS1. BTN and FS1 have made proposal to Comcast dating back to February, and we've had no substantive response at all," Silverman said. 

"As a result, we believe BTN and those Big Ten games that are on FS1 are in danger of not being carried on Comcast this coming season. So we are letting people know this to alert Comcast subscribers of this real possibility they may lose these games."

PennLive reached out to Comcast for comment but did not receive one as of 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Penn State is already scheduled to play the Mountaineers on Big Ten Network, while its games against Kent State and Illinois are scheduled for Fox Sports One. There is a very real possibility, as well, that additional games this fall will be carried by one of the two stations, regardless of whether either or both reach an agreement with Comcast.

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