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Big Ten Conference announces groundbreaking media rights deal worth more than $7 billion

Stephen Samraby:Steve Samra08/18/22

SamraSource

The Big Ten Conference just made waves, announcing a historic media rights deal that’ll feature the conference across multiple networks, including CBS, FOX, NBC and NBC’s Peacock.

“The Big Ten Conference announced today that it has reached distribution agreements with CBS, FOX, NBC and NBCUniversal’s Peacock,” announced the Big Ten. “The breadth of new partners, in addition to Big Ten Network (BTN) and FS1, will place conference football, women’s and men’s basketball and Olympic sports student-athletes on the biggest stage and provide fans with the most exciting matchups across traditional over-the-air linear television and direct-to-consumer streaming.

“These landmark media rights agreements are the most comprehensive in all of college sports and further strengthen the tradition of the Big Ten Conference.”

According to Pete Thamel of ESPN, the new seven-year agreement will “begin July 1, 2023, and run through the end of the 2029-30 athletic year.”

Additionally, the college football insider writes the Big Ten is “set to bring in more than $7 billion” over the course of the agreements.

“Specific terms were not disclosed, but a financial windfall won’t come immediately, according to media sources,” added Thamel. “The CBS payout in Year 1 of the agreement is lower since it still will be carrying SEC games during the 2023 season, and will air only seven Big Ten contests that fall.

“But the Big Ten’s per-school distribution will slope upward in Year 2 of the deal, when new members USC and UCLA enter the Big Ten. Revenue will rise substantially beginning in Year 3.”

The landmark news comes after it was reported that ESPN was walking away from the negotiating table when it comes to the Big Ten, as the worldwide leader wasn’t willing to reach the demands of the conference.

“Big Ten Conference football will dominate Saturdays, beginning in the fall of 2023 on the largest broadcast platforms from morning to night, with FOX at Noon ET, CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET and NBC in Prime Time,” added the Big Ten. “With the addition of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) in August 2024, the conference, its student-athletes and member institutions will reach the broadest audience in the country, coast-to-coast, including the top three media markets in the country in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.”

Additionally, the Big Ten laid out which rights their media partners will have moving forward.

First, the Big Ten Network will continue to televise a full slate of football, basketball and Olympic sport competition throughout the entire year, per the conference.

Next, CBS will televise seven football games, along with both regular season and postseason men’s basketball action during their initial season in 2023. Additionally, CBS will carry the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament final for the first time. Every CBS football and basketball broadcast will also be streamed on Paramount+, per the Big Ten.

As for FOX, they’ve renewed their agreement to televise football and men’s basketball games each season, with the opportunity to carry additional sports throughout the year, per the Big Ten.

Continuing, NBC will now produce 14-to-16 games on broadcast television each season as it introduces college football fans to Big Ten Saturday Night, the conference explained. Each Big Ten game on NBC broadcast will also be simul-streamed on Peacock.

Moreover, Peacock will also deliver exclusive Big Ten football and basketball games each season, as eight regular-season football games will appear on the platform along with as many as 47 regular-season men’s basketball games (32 conference and 15 non-conference) and 30 regular-season women’s basketball games (20 conference and 10 non-conference), added the Big Ten.

Finally, the Big Ten also announced CBS, FOX and NBC will combine efforts to televise the seven Big Ten Football Championship Games during the term. 

FOX will be up first, carrying the game in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029. Meanwhile, CBS will broadcast the Big Ten Football Championship Game in 2024 and 2028, with NBC taking over in 2026.

As you can see, the Big Ten pulled off a media rights deal for the ages — one that could set a new standard for other conferences, like the SEC, to follow in the near future.