Big Ten media rights: What we know as negotiations enter final stretch – The Athletic

Big Ten media rights: What we know as negotiations enter final stretch - The Athletic

The Big Ten is poised to deliver a stunner when it concludes its media rights negotiations sometime in the next few days. Barring a last-minute surprise, ESPN is not expected to land one of the Big Ten’s packages, a source with direct knowledge of the negotiation confirmed to. The Athletics.

In addition to Fox, which locked up Big Ten rights months ago, the conference will likely partner with both CBS and NBC. Such deals, if finalized, could result in the following Saturday slate: a noon ET game on Fox, a 3:30 pm ET game on CBS and prime time on NBC. Multiple sources involved in the negotiations have reiterated over the past month that the Big Ten has prioritized exclusive windows during the process.

Sports Business Journal first reported the developments and noted that ESPN is still negotiating with the Big Ten, so there’s still a chance the network will end up with a package. If ESPN doesn’t end up with some Big Ten football and basketball games in this negotiation, it will be historic. ESPN has carried Big Ten games for the past 40 years; it shared rights with Fox in the current deal, which expires in 2023.

The Big Ten also expects to add a streaming package, though it’s not yet clear whether that will go to Amazon or Apple, a source said. The Athletics. Both companies have significantly increased their investment in live sports programming in the past year.

Here’s what we know about the possible options:

How ESPN losing the Big Ten impacts its battle with Fox

If the Big Ten were to move on from ESPN, this would add enough fuel to the fire brewing between ESPN and Fox. ESPN has exclusive rights to the SEC, and Fox would have main rights to the Big Ten – so, the rivals would each support a different horse because the two 16-team conferences are ready to withdraw from their peers before the end of the. a decade What might this mean for programming decisions? Framing? Future media rights tied to an expanded College Football Playoff?

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren opposed early efforts to expand the CFP last winter, in part because CFP expansion before the end of the current contract (which expires in 2026) meant ESPN would have an exclusive negotiating window. Warren has long advocated for the CFP to have multiple media partners, something many in the industry assumed Fox was getting involved with.

What Warren envisioned for college football’s premier postseason event is similar to the NFL playoffs: Multiple media partners broadcasting different rounds and investing more in their coverage of the sport throughout the year to support this.

What does this mean for the Pac-12, Big 12 and Our Lady

If ESPN doesn’t get a Big Ten package, you’d have to think this bodes well for both the Pac-12 and Big 12, whose rights will come next. The Pac-12 opened its exclusive negotiating window with ESPN early in the aftermath of USC and UCLA‘s move to the Big Ten.

What is perhaps just as – if not more – interesting is how Notre Dame fits into these developments. Could NBC’s relationship with the Big Ten help push the Irish into joining the conference? With longtime rival USC and a footprint that now stretches from Los Angeles to New York, the Big Ten believes it has never been more attractive to the independent Irish. The checks the conference is about to hand out to its members thanks to this new media deal won’t hurt either. Multiple outlets have reported that the Big Ten is looking to eclipse $1 billion in rights fees per year in its new deal.

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