Yes, that's right, according to Sports Business Journal, the Big Ten is considering keeping Maryland and Rutgers games -- both football and basketball -- off of its own Big Ten Network in an effort to get local cable companies to place the network on their basic tiers.
Just another reminder that conference realignment is about nothing more than eyeballs staring at televisions, which produces money whether those eyeballs know it or not.
At the moment, the Big Ten Network is available in the home markets of Maryland and Rutgers, but it's located on sports tiers that are optional to cable subscribers. However, at the moment, cable subscribers outside the Big Ten market are paying about 15 cents a month for the network. Once the network hits the basic package in the Big Ten markets, that jumps up to 80 cents a month.
So that means for every 1 million cable subscribers in those markets -- subscribers, not people actually watching the Big Ten Network, just those with cable -- the Big Ten will make an additional $650,000 a month, or $7.8 million a year.
Between New York City, New Jersey, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., there are roughly 18.1 million people. If only 50 percent of those people have cable, that's nearly $5.9 million a month for the Big Ten Network.
So if you still had any questions about why the Big Ten would choose Rutgers and Maryland, it's probably a bit clearer now.
Also, this is not the first time the Big Ten has used such tactics. It threatened to do the same thing with Nebraska before it joined the conference. Of course, there wasn't much resistance from the cable companies in Nebraska as their customer base would not have been happy without their Cornhusker games available on television.
However, it will be pretty interesting to see whether New York cable companies even bat an eye when threatened with the possibility of losing Rutgers games.