Big Ten TV deal: 7-year agreement with Fox, CBS, NBC

Beginning in 2024, Big Ten football Saturdays will be structured similar to the NFL, with three marquee games in consecutive time slots on three major television networks.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Big Ten’s new $7 billion media rights deal will feature the conference’s top football games each week on three major networks and create NFL-style television programming on Saturdays.

The Big Ten announced Thursday that they have reached seven-year agreements with Fox, CBS and NBC to share the rights to the conference’s football and basketball games.

The agreements, effective in 2023 and expiring in 2030, will eventually allow the conference’s soon-to-be 16 member universities to share more than $1 billion a year, a person familiar with the terms told The Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Big Ten and network officials didn’t publicly reveal financial details, but the deal is believed to be the richest ever for a college sports property on an annual basis. The large increase in conference revenue will not occur until the third year of the agreement and will gradually increase over the last five years.

“I think what it’s doing, it’s providing us with an opportunity to make sure we can continually do the things that we need to do to take care of our student-athletes, strengthen our institutions, and build our programs,” Big Ten said -Commissioner Kevin Warren told the AP.

The Big Ten currently has 14 members, stretching from Rutgers and Maryland on the East Coast to Nebraska in the Midwest, covering some of the nation’s largest media markets, including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.

In 2024, Southern California and UCLA are slated to join the Big Ten, adding the Los Angeles market to their footprint.

With ESPN falling out of the equation for Big Ten football after a 40-year relationship, the league will lock down three prominent timeslots with its network partners.

Fox, which has shared the rights to the Big Ten with ESPN since 2017 and owns a majority stake in the Big Ten Network, will continue to offer lunchtime as its main game of the day.

Fox and its cable network FS1 will own the rights to more than two dozen soccer games, at least 45 men’s basketball games and women’s basketball games.

CBS will replace the Southeastern Conference’s 3:30 p.m. Eastern Conference game of the week — which is moving to ABC — with a Big Ten game beginning in 2024.

CBS will broadcast 14 to 15 Big Ten football games each season from 2024 to 2029, including a Black Friday game. Unlike its long-standing SEC deal, CBS isn’t guaranteed the first pick of football games with the Big Ten every week. Fox, CBS and NBC will create a blueprint for games that will give each network a few choices for the first pick in any given week.

In 2023, CBS will air seven Big Ten games while the SEC is still airing on CBS at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. The network will continue to be the home of men’s Big Ten basketball, including semifinals and finals of conference tournaments, and will begin broadcasting the championship of women’s basketball tournaments.

“Once we did our financial analysis and looked at the major markets – ahead of USC and UCLA – and the national footprint of the Big Ten, it was a very attractive deal for us,” said Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports. “And I think the money is fair. It’s unprecedented. This is the biggest deal in college football history.”

Beginning in 2023, NBC will launch Big Ten Saturday Night in prime time, broadcasting 15-16 games per season. The deal with NBC also includes eight soccer games and dozens of men’s and women’s basketball games per season, streamed exclusively on Peacock, the network’s online subscription service. NBC also has a separate, long-term, non-conference broadcast deal with Notre Dame.

Each network will broadcast the Big Ten championship football game at least once during the contract period, with Fox securing rights to four (2023, ’25, ’27 and ’29).

Warren has served as a front office executive for three NFL teams for more than two decades. He said the Big Ten’s vision for their new broadcast deal was modeled after an NFL Sunday, with three back-to-back marquee games on three different networks airing from noon to nearly midnight Eastern.

“I just thought, where we are in the Big Ten, we had a very unique opportunity because we have the institutions that could do it,” Warren said. “We have the fan desire. We have the breadth, we have the historical foundation, that we were able to create something truly unique with three strong brands in Fox, CBS and NBC.”

The Big Ten’s alignment with three traditional networks shows that while streaming may be the future, linear TV isn’t dead.

“It may die in certain aspects. You could say things like scripted dramas. sitcoms But for sports and news, it’s never been this strong,” said Bob Thompson, former president of Fox Sports Network.

“The conferences or leagues are a little reluctant to make such a big leap from the broad, wide distribution of broadcast television,” he added. “Now you’re going to jump to the streaming service, which in the grand scheme of things, the numbers are still relatively small given how many people are watching and using them.” Big Ten TV deal: 7-year agreement with Fox, CBS, NBC

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