Big Ten offers new TV megadeal with Fox, NBC and CBS — but not ESPN


The Big Ten Conference unveiled media rights deals on Thursday that are expected to be worth more than $1 billion annually, a monumental windfall that comes amid the fast-changing landscape of schools’ conferences and athletes arguing for a greater share of the growing wealth flowing through athletic departments. The contracts with Fox, CBS and NBC are among the largest in college sports history.

The Big Ten, once synonymous with the Midwest, will soon have 16 teams from New Jersey to California, a newly minted national conference in a sports region once lauded for its regional appeal. The conference recently announced planned additions USC and UCLAThis would give the convention a foothold in the lucrative Los Angeles media market and raise the value of the deals.

Kevin Warren, the conference’s commissioner since 2020, said this summer that he has been thinking about Big Ten expansion since interviewing for the job. If not specific schools, Warren developed the expansion idea in early papers discussed with networks, he said.

“What expansion has done for us and our fans, it’s really shortened America, shortened our country,” Warren said in an interview, “so people can recognize our teams competing and their schools competing in the morning, afternoon and night and at unique times of the year, Black Friday and coast to coast.” until.”

All 16 members of the Big Ten, including previous additions Maryland and Rutgers, will take a financial hit because TV money is the biggest earner in college sports. The conference’s chief rival, the SEC, made its own moves, announcing last year. Add Texas and Oklahoma.

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“The Big Ten and the SEC’s ability to generate TV revenue has attracted big-name brands like USC and Texas to those conferences, which would be meaningless without that TV money,” said engagement economist Andy Schwarz. Among several lawsuits against the NCAA. “It also makes it clear that they run a football team like a business, and they treat their players like they treat NFL players.”

The tradition-shattering moves and onslaught of TV money come as the NCAA faces lawsuits and lawsuits across the country challenging its longstanding amateur rules. Last year, the association loosened some of those restrictions To allow athletes to earn money through endorsements and their social media accounts, but massive TV deals lack a revenue-sharing model. Warren said he is ready to talk to the players about it.

“I think all these obvious issues should be put on the table to be discussed legally,” he said.

The new contracts, which will run for seven years starting in 2023, illustrate the staggering amount of money filling the coffers of college sports programs, which can be traced back to the Big Ten. In 1996, the conference made a record deal: a 10-year, $100 million deal with ESPN that put all of its conference games on the network. In 2007, the conference partnered with Fox to launch the Big Ten Network, which generated $2.8 billion over 20 years. The Pac-12, ACC and SEC have all followed the Big Ten and launched their own branded networks with varying degrees of success.

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The Big Ten and SEC are far ahead of rival conferences in revenue. SEC signs deal with ESPN worth $3 billion over 10 years According to Sports Business JournalIts first Saturday game will begin in 2024. (Other parts of that deal bring the value of the SEC’s media rights to about $700 million each year.) But the Big Ten is now back on top.

The new deals will give the conference an NFL-like schedule on three broadcast networks on college football Saturdays, with set windows for each — noon on Fox; 3:30 p.m. on CBS; and prime time on NBC. Notably left out of the deal was ESPN, a Big Ten partner for four decades. Even in a highly fragmented media environment, ESPN remains the nation’s dominant sports network. Its daily talk show drives the day’s sports talk and it retains the College Football Playoff franchise. ESPN, for decades, has been instrumental in putting the Big Ten on TV across the country.

“We’re an important part of college athletics, especially college football,” Warren said. “I think everyone recognizes that it’s important that we all work together and that we all have a collaborative voice. I am confident that we stand in the Big Ten and that we can have a voice in shaping the future of college athletics on and off the field.

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The Big Ten is a recent sports property. Signed by the NFL A deal with four broadcast networks and Amazon Last year it would pay about $100 billion over a decade. Major League Baseball’s new deal with Fox Sports is worth more than $5 billion a year. Last year, the English Premier League doubled the annual value of its US rights fee when it re-signed with NBC for $2.7 billion over six years. Live sports continue to play an important role in maintaining cable customers, while streaming platforms use them to attract new subscribers. (The Big Ten also talked to Amazon.)

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Other Big Ten sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, are broadcast across Fox (and FS1), CBS and NBC, with the Big Ten Network, in which Fox owns 61 percent equity, and NBC’s streaming service Peacock. Fox and FS1 will continue to show a large portion of the conference’s football games.

In 2023, CBS will broadcast seven football games. The network still has a contract with the SEC that requires CBS to air the conference’s top game exclusively at 3:30 p.m. Beginning in 2024, the Big Ten will occupy that afternoon window all season.

NBC will air 14 to 16 football games each season, introducing programming described as “Big Ten Saturday Night,” an attempt to replicate the network’s success with “Sunday Night Football.” Fox will share the rights to broadcast the Big Ten football title game in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, and CBS (2024, 2028) and NBC (2026) will broadcast the marquee event in the other. years.

CBS will televise the men’s and women’s basketball conference championship game.

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