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Say what you will about Comcast and their policies, Illini and Big Ten sports fans can expect to get a whole lot more this fall when the Big Ten Network becomes part of the cable-provider’s extended basic service.

Service begins on August 15. Until that date, the Big Ten Network is only accessible in the area via satellite television providers such as DirecTV.

Many area bars and restaurants enjoyed increased sales on game days due to sports fans not being able to watch certain games at home.

Local businesses, though, aren’t concerned that it will affect them too greatly.

“I am sure it will effect business to an extent, but it’s our food and our service that brings people back to our restaurant to watch games,” says Marcus Edwards, manager at Buffalo Wild Wings in Champaign.

After almost a year of negotiating, and sometimes even outright fighting, the two organizations came to a multi-year deal today that would include every state in the Big Ten area except for Iowa.

2008-2009 is the only academic year that the network is contractually obligated to include the station in their basic extended package. After the basketball season, Comcast has the option of moving it to their digital service.

The cable company will pay about $.70 cents per cable subscriber to the Big Ten, rather than the $1.10 that they were originally asking for.