Athletics News
Mike Thomas Statement On BTN And Dish Network
Fans with Dish Network will not be able to watch Illini games on the Big Ten Network this fall.

Fans with Dish Network will not be able to watch Illini games on the Big Ten Network this fall.

Sept. 21, 2012

University of Illinois Director of Athletics Mike Thomas Statement on BTN-Dish Network Negotiations

Dear Fighting Illini Fans:
I am disappointed that an agreement between the Big Ten Network and Dish Network has not been finalized. Dish Network is the only major television provider in the Big Ten region that is not carrying the BTN. Up until last Saturday, we were led to believe that both parties were close to a final agreement and our millions of viewers would have uninterrupted coverage of Big Ten football. The University of Illinois is obviously not directly involved in the negotiation process, but we are in total support of the BTN and its core mission to provide high quality television coverage of all Big Ten sports. Considering that all other major television providers have an agreement with the BTN, it seems reasonable to think that an agreement between the BTN and Dish is possible. If Fighting Illini and Big Ten fans don't feel they are being given adequate service by their current provider, then the suggestion is they explore other options such at DirecTV, Comcast, AT&T's U-Verse and other cable providers. Illinois will play Louisiana Tech Saturday night on the BTN. It's very unfortunate that customers of Dish will not be able to enjoy the telecast.

- Mike Thomas

BTN's Message to Dish Network Customers

Despite Big Ten Network's efforts to finalize an agreement, we are disappointed to tell you that Dish Network has decided to drop the Big Ten Network. As you know, BTN has been working around the clock for weeks to try and reach a deal with Dish. They are now unwilling to sign a contract.

Dish customers will miss the rest of the football season on BTN and over 400 Big Ten sporting events. Not only are you missing Big Ten games today, but several dozen more this season and over a hundred men's basketball games. It is unfortunate that Dish does not value BTN in the same way that so many of their customers do, including Big Ten students, parents, alumni and fans across the country. Furthermore, DISH customers will continue to pay Dish for a channel they no longer receive.

If Dish won't give you the games you want, others will. To find another BTN provider, go to or call 1-855-WANT-B10 (1-855-926-8210) for more information. Stay up to date on the latest developments on BTN's Facebook page and on Twitter.

Thank you for your support.