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Fox warns Comcast customers may lose big ten network in dispute
[NEW YORK] Just days after dropping its bid for 21st Century Fox Inc's assets, Comcast Corp is facing a new challenge from Rupert Murdoch: a public dispute over a college-sports channel.
Comcast subscribers may lose access to the Big Ten Network as Fox quarrels with the cable giant over a new contract, Mark Silverman, Fox's president of national networks, said Tuesday in prepared remarks at a media event in Chicago.
The Big Ten Network, a joint venture between Fox and the Big Ten Conference, broadcasts sports involving teams from universities across the Midwest, including some whose alumni reside in Chicago, one of Comcast's largest markets. The Big Ten Network has about 60 million subscribers nationwide, and about a third are Comcast subscribers.
The channel's contract with Comcast expires at the end of August and also covers Big Ten sporting events on Fox's sports channel, FS1. If the two sides can't reach a deal by then, FS1 plans to air other programming when Big Ten games would air on that channel.
Mr Silverman said Fox has made offers to Comcast as far back as February, but "we've had no substantive response."
"I am letting everyone know this in order to alert Comcast subscribers of the real possibility that they may lose BTN and Big Ten football games on FS1 this season," he said.