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Big Ten commissioner sounds off on timing of new media rights deal

Nick Schultz05/03/22
Article written by:On3 imageNick Schultz

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Wisconsin athletic director calls on Big Ten commissioner for swift action following Juwan Howard punch
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Throughout the offseason, the Big Ten has been working toward a new media rights deal. Tuesday, commissioner Kevin Warren provided a timeline on a potential decision.

Prior to league meetings in Arizona, Warren told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and Heather Dinich he hopes basic terms of the deal are done in the next 30 days. The league currently has a deal with FOX, ESPN and CBS, but it’s set to expire in 2023.

“I’m confident it will sort out and we’ll land exactly where it’s supposed to be,” Warren said, via Rittenberg.

Warren also said companies such as CBS, NBC, ESPN and TNT have expressed interest, in addition to FOX and streaming services such as Apple and Amazon. He didn’t name a frontrunner, though.

“There’s many, many hours left this month to make sure that we get everything negotiated properly and come to some term sheets or a memorandum of understanding,” Warren said, via Rittenberg. “That’s when the lawyers will get involved to start doing long-form agreements.”

More on the Big Ten’s search for a new media rights deal

In February, Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy and Amanda Christovich reported NBC Sports could make a run at a deal with the Big Ten.

“With the Big Ten’s media rights set to expire in 2023, major networks are gearing up to bid for some of the most sought-after packages in college sports,” reported McCarthy and Christovich. “NBC Sports is expected to make a major push for the Power 5 conference’s rights, sources tell Front Office Sports. The Big Ten could command fees of up to $1.1 billion annually on the open market, said sources.”

The intrigue could come from NBC’s deal with Notre Dame, an independent, and that could make for a good combination.

“NBC views the combination of the Big Ten along with its existing deal with Notre Dame football as the ‘perfect one-two punch,’ said one source,” said Front Office Sports. “With its $100 million-per-year deal with the NHL off the books, NBC has the cash and ambition to boost its college portfolio.”

As McCarthy and Christovich reported, a new bar was set by the SEC in 2020. The conference signed a 10-year, $3 billion deal with Disney that will commence in 2024. Now, other conference are looking for their huge payouts.

On3’s Stephen Samra contributed to this report.