Big Ten lands new TV mega deal with Fox, NBC and CBS – but not ESPN – The Washington Post

Big Ten lands new TV mega deal with Fox, NBC and CBS - but not ESPN - The Washington Post

Placeholder while article actions load

The Big Ten Conference has finalized a monumental set of media rights deals, expected to be worth more than $1 billion annually, with Fox, CBS and NBC — and notably without ESPN. The Big Ten’s new deals will make it the richest conference in college sports, just weeks after the conference announced it would add University of Southern California and UCLA from the Pacific-12.

The new deals, which begin in 2023 and were announced Thursday morning, will give the conference an NFL-like schedule spread across 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. It is the first time in four decades that the conference will not have a formal partnership with ESPN.

The additions of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten, which will give the conference a footprint in the lucrative Los Angeles television market, boosted the value of the deals as the multibillion-dollar college sports industry navigates a rapidly changing landscape. Beginning in the 2024 season, the Big Ten, once synonymous with the Midwest, will have 16 teams spread from New Jersey to California. It is a national conference in a sport once appreciated for its regional appeal.

“What expansion has done for us, and for our fans, it’s really shrunk America, shrunk our country,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in an interview, “where people recognize that they’re going to be able to watch our teams compete and their schools compete in the morning, at noon both at night and at unique times throughout the year, like on Black Friday, and from coast to coast. That’s going to be really exciting.”

Other Big Ten sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, will air on Fox (and FS1), CBS and NBC, along with the Big Ten Network, of which Fox owns 61 percent equity, and Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. The deals run through the 2029-30 season.

Even in a more fragmented media environment, ESPN remains the country’s dominant sports network. Its daily chat line leads the sports conversation of the day and it retains the rights to the College Football Playoff. ESPN, for decades, has been key to putting the Big Ten on television across the country.

“We are a key component of college athletics, and 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 where we stand in the Big Ten, we will be able to have a voice in shaping the future of college athletics both on and off the field of play.”

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

In 2023, CBS will broadcast seven football games. The network continues to be tied to the SEC through a contract that requires the conference’s top game to be exclusively televised by CBS at 3:30 p.m. Beginning in 2024, the Big Ten will occupy that afternoon window for the entire season, and CBS will broadcast 14 or. 15 games each year, including one afternoon on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The power and danger of being Adam Schefter, the ultimate NFL insider

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

Those three major networks will share the rights to broadcast the Big Ten football title game with Fox televising the game in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, and CBS (2024, 2028) and NBC (2026) broadcasting the marquee event in the 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 to 11 men’s basketball games in 2023-24, then increase to 15 games, including 13 conference matchups, in the remaining years of the deal. The network will also broadcast the championship game of both the men’s and women’s basketball conference tournaments, along with the men’s semifinals.

NBC’s Big Ten inventory only includes football, but Peacock, the network’s direct-to-consumer service, will carry dozens of contests in other sports. The platform is planned to have eight soccer games. Peacock will televise 32 men’s basketball games, including 20 conference games, in the 2023-24 season, then increase to up to 47 men’s basketball games (32 conference games) in subsequent years. Peacock will also broadcast the opening night pair of games in the men’s basketball conference tournament.

Peacock will carry 30 women’s basketball games, including 20 conference games, and the opening night doubleheader of the women’s basketball conference tournament. The platform can also broadcast up to 40 live events per year for Olympic sports.

BTN will carry 38 to 41 football games in 2023, 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 men’s basketball conference tournament, four games on Thursday and four quarterfinals will be shown on BTN. For the women’s tournament, BTN will have four games on Thursday, four quarterfinals and two semifinals. BTN will continue to be the conference’s primary home for Olympic sports programming.

Warren, the conference’s commissioner starting in 2020, said this summer that he has been thinking about Big Ten expansion since he interviewed for the job. So when the conference welcomed UCLA and USC this summer, the shake-up in the college sports landscape didn’t shake the negotiations. He built the idea of ​​expansion, just not the specific schools, into the earliest term sheets discussed with networks, he said.

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

The rights fees illustrate the staggering amount of money filling the coffers of college sports programs, a development that can be traced throughout the Big Ten and its television history. In 1996, the conference landed a 10-year, $100 million contract with ESPN that put nearly 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 netted the conference $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 success.

The Big Ten and SEC remain well ahead in terms of revenue from rival conferences. The SEC signed a deal with ESPN worth $3 billion over 10 years, according to Sports Business Journalfor its top Saturday game that begins in 2024. (Other parts of that deal bring the value of the SEC’s media rights to about $700 million annually.)

The Big Ten is just the latest sports property to turn a profit in recent years, proving once again the value of live sports to media companies, both traditional and new. The NFL signed a deal with the four broadcast networks and Amazon last year that will pay it 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 are still key to keeping cable customers, while streaming platforms hope to use them to recruit new subscribers. (The Big Ten has had conversations with Amazon as well.)

In the evolving world of college athlete rights, Warren said, he is open to talking with players about potential revenue models from the new deals. “I think all these open issues need to be on the table to discuss legally,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.