Big Ten wins a new television megaaccord with Fox, NBC and CBS – but not ESPN


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The Big Ten conference has finalized a monumental set of media rights deals, expected to be worth more than $1 billion a year, with Fox, CBS and NBC – and notably without ESPN. Big Ten’s new offers will make the richest university sports conference, just a few weeks after the conference announced that it would add the University of South California and the Pacific-12 UCLA.

The new agreements, which begin in 2023 and were announced on Thursday morning, will give the conference an NFL type calendar distributed on three broadcasting networks on Saturday university football with fixed windows for each – noon on Fox; 3.30 p.m. on CBS; And at prospective hours on NBC. This is the first time in four decades that the conference will have no official partnership with ESPN.

Additions of USC and UCLA BIG TEN, which will give the conference an imprint on the Los Angeles television lucrative market, increased the value of agreements while the multimillionaire university sports industry sails in a rapidly evolving landscape. From the 2024 season, Big Ten, formerly synonymous with the Midwest, will have 16 teams distributed from New Jersey to California. It is a national conference in a sport formerly prized for its regional appeal.

“What the expansion has done for us and for our fans, it really narrowed the United States, has narrowed our country,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, in an interview, ” Let people recognize that they will be able to watch our teams compete and their schools are in competition morning, noon and night and at unique moments of the year, like black Friday and from one ocean to another. It will really be exciting.

Other Big Ten sports, including male and female basketball, will be broadcast on Fox (and FS1), CBS and NBC, as well as on the Big Ten network, of which Fox holds 61% of the capital, and Peacock, the NBC streaming service. Transactions run through the 2029-30 season.

Even in a more fragmented media environment, ESPN remains the dominant sports network of the country. His daily chat lineup drives the sports conversation of the day and retains college football playoff rights. ESPN, for decades, played a key role in the broadcasting of Big Ten on television across the country.

“We are a key element in university athletics, and in particular university football,” said Warren. “I think everyone recognizes that it is important that we all work together and that all have a collaborative voice. I’m confident where we stand in the Big Ten, we can have a voice in shaping the future of college athletics on and off the playing field.”

Fox and FS1 will continue to show a large portion of conference football games: 24-27 games in 2023, then 30-32 games in subsequent years.

In 2023, CBS will broadcast seven football games. The network is always linked to the dry through a contract which requires that the best match of the conference be broadcast exclusively by CBS at 3.30 p.m. From 2024, the Big Ten will occupy this afternoon window all the season, and CBS will broadcast 14 or 15 games each year, including one in the afternoon of Friday after Thanksgiving.

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NBC will broadcast 14 to 16 football games each season, introducing a program described as “Big Ten Saturday Night”, an effort to reflect the success that the network had with “Sunday Night Football”.

These three major networks will share the broadcast rights of the match for the football title Big Ten with Fox televising the match in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, and CBS (2024, 2028) and NBC (2026) broadcasting the flagship event other years. .

Fox also has the rights to 45 men’s basketball games each season and can broadcast select women’s basketball games and Olympic sports competitions.

CBS will televise 9-11 men’s basketball games in 2023-24, then expand to 15 games, including 13 conference matchups, in the remaining years of the deal. The network will also air championship play from the men’s and women’s basketball conference tournaments, as well as the men’s semifinals.

NBC’s Big Ten inventory includes football only, but Peacock, the network’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, will carry dozens of contests in other sports. The platform is expected to have eight football matches. Peacock will televise 32 male basketball games, including 20 conference games, during the 2023-24 season, then increased to 47 male basketball games (32 conference games) in the following years. Peacock will also broadcast the pair of opening evening matches in the male basketball conference tournament.

Peacock will carry 30 women’s basketball games, including 20 conference games, and the women’s basketball conference tournament opener double-header. The platform can also distribute up to 40 live events per year for Olympic sports.

BTN will carry 38 to 41 football games in 2023 and then up to 50 games from 2024 to 2029. The network will broadcast at least 126 men’s basketball games and at least 49 women’s basketball games. During the male basketball conference tournament, four games on Thursday and four quarter-finals will be presented on BTN. For the women’s tournament, BTN will have four games on Thursday, four quarter-finals and two semi-finals. BTN will continue to be the main headquarters of the Conference for Olympic Sports Programming.

Warren, conference commissioner since 2020, said this summer he has been thinking about Big Ten expansion since interviewing for the job. So when the conference hosted UCLA and USC this summer, the jolt of the college’s athletic landscape didn’t fail negotiations. He built the idea of ​​the expansion, but not the specific schools, into the early briefs discussed with the networks, he said.

“We are a historic conference,” Warren said. “I think people recognize that we’re trying to make sure that we honor our tradition but also be smart and careful about cutting-edge cutting-edge ideas.”

The fees of rights illustrate the amazing amount of money filling the chests of university sports programs, an evolution that can be traced through the Big Ten and its television history. In 1996, the conference landed a 10-year, $100 million deal with ESPN which put almost all of its conference games on the network and was the first of its kind. In 2007, the conference launched the Big Ten Network in partnership with Fox in a deal that earned the conference $2.8 billion over 20 years. The CAP-12, ACC and SEC have all followed the Big Ten and launched their own brand networks, with a variable success.

Big Ten and the SEC remain far ahead in terms of income from rival conferences. The SEC has signed an agreement with ESPN worth $ 3 billion over 10 years, According to Sports Business JournalFor its first Saturday match which begins in 2024. (Other parties of this agreement bring the value of the media rights of the SEC to around $ 700 million each year.)

The Big Ten is just the latest sports property to collect a windfall in recent years, proving once again the value of live sports to media companies, traditional and new. The NFL signed a deal with all four broadcast networks and Amazon last year that will pay it about $100 billion over a decade. The new contract of Major League Baseball with Fox Sports is worth more than $ 5 billion per year. Last year, the English Premier League doubled the annual value of its American rights costs when it was signed with NBC for $ 2.7 billion over six years. Live sports continue to be essential to maintaining cable customers, while streaming platforms hope to use them to recruit new subscribers. (Big Ten also had conversations with Amazon.)

In the evolving world of college athlete rights, Warren said, he’s open to a conversation with gamers about potential revenue-sharing models for new offerings. “I think all of these open questions must be put on the table to discuss it legitimately,” he said.

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