Many Maryland fans will have easier access to the Big Ten Network under an agreement reached with Comcast, the network said Wednesday.
Under the deal -- finalized before Maryland enters the Big Ten conference next Tuesday -- Comcast cable subscribers in the principal markets for Maryland and Rutgers will be able to access the network without subscribing to a separate sports tier.
The network is already available to most local Maryland fans, who often pay a fee added to their cable operators' bills for extra sports programming.
A new distribution arrangement has also been made with the cable giant for fans located near Rutgers. Rutgers also joins the conference next week.
According to the network, the agreement means that Maryland and Rutgers fans will generally have the same access to the network as fans in the home states of other Big Ten schools.
The network already has similar deals in place with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision.
"I think it's great," Maryland football coach Randy Edsall said. "They've got all three major cable carriers locked in. That's great for recruiting and everything else."
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said the moves mean the conference's Eastern push is moving ahead as planned, according to ESPN, which first reported the story.
"And that it means that Big Ten fans and college sports fans will be able to access 24/7 BTN on basic or digital basic carriage. Our goal was to achieve distribution in New York and D.C., Maryland and New Jersey," Delany told ESPN.