Having become synonymous with the Midwest, the Big Ten will soon have 16 teams spread from New Jersey to California, a newly formed national convention in a sports world that was once prized for its regional appeal. The conference recently announced the planned additions of USC and UCLAwhich will give the conference its footprint in the lucrative media market in Los Angeles, enhancing the value of the agreements.
Kevin Warren, the conference’s commissioner since 2020, said this summer that he’s been considering expanding the Big Ten since he interviewed for the job. He said Warren built the idea of expanding, if not specific, schools into early term papers that were discussed with the networks.
“What the expansion has done for us and our fans has really reduced the size of the United States and the shrinkage of our country,” Warren said in an interview, to where people realize they will be able to watch our teams compete and their schools compete mornings, noon, nights and unique times of the year, like Black Friday And from coast to coast.
All 16 members of the Big Ten, including former Maryland and Rutgers additions, will receive a windfall, as TV money is the biggest source of income in college sports. The Securities and Exchange Commission, the main competitor to the conference, has taken its own steps, and announced last year that it will do so Add Texas and Oklahoma.
said economist Andy Schwartz, who has been involved in several lawsuits against the NCAA. “It’s also clear that they’re running a football team as a business, and in doing so they’re treating their players like they’re NFL players too.”
The tradition-destroying moves and the attack on television money come as the NCAA faces litigation and legislation across the country challenging its longstanding rules regarding amateurs. Last year, Assembly Some of those restrictions have been relaxed To allow athletes to earn money from endorsements and their social media accounts, but no revenue sharing model is in place for massive TV contracts. Warren said he’s open to having a conversation with the players about it.
“I believe that all of these open issues should be brought to the table for a legal discussion,” he said.
The new deals, starting in 2023 and lasting for seven years, illustrate the staggering amount of money filling the coffers of college sports programs, a development that can be traced through the Big Ten. In 1996, conference got what was at the time a record deal: a 10-year, $100 million contract with ESPN that put nearly all conference games on the network. In 2007, the conference launched the Big Ten Network in partnership with Fox in a deal that generated $2.8 billion in profits over 20 years. Pac-12, ACC, and SEC have all followed the Big Ten and launched their own branded networks, with mixed success.
The Big Ten and the SEC remain far ahead of the competing conferences in revenue. The Securities and Exchange Commission signed a deal with ESPN worth $3 billion over 10 years, According to Sports Business Journalfor Saturday’s best game, beginning in 2024. (Other parts of that deal raise the value of the SEC’s media rights to about $700 million each year.) But now the Big Ten is back on top.
The new deals will give the conference an NFL-like schedule spread across three college football broadcast networks on Saturdays, with windows set for each — noon on Fox; 3:30 p.m. on CBS. and prime time on NBC. Notably, ESPN, which had been a partner of the Big Ten for four decades, was left out of the deal. Even in a more divided media environment, ESPN remains the country’s dominant sports network. Her Daily Conversations group leads the day’s sports conversations and reserves the rights to the College Football Playoff. For decades, ESPN has been a key factor in bringing the Big Ten on television across the country.
“We are an essential component of college athletics, especially college football,” Warren said. “I think everyone understands that it is important that we all work together and have a collaborative voice. I am confident, as we stand at the Big Ten, that we will be able to have a voice in shaping the future of college athletics on and off the field.”
The Big Ten is the latest sports property to amass windfall, once again proving the value of live sports to media companies, both traditional and new. Signed the NFL Deal with the four broadcast networks and Amazon Last year it would 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 Premier League doubled the annual value of US rights fees when it re-signed with NBC for $2.7 billion over six years. Live sports continue to play a major role in maintaining cable customers, while streaming platforms hope to use them to attract new subscribers. (The Big Ten have also had talks with Amazon.)
Other Big Ten games, including men’s and women’s basketball, will be broadcast via Fox (and FS1), CBS and NBC, along with the Big Ten Network, of which Fox is 61 percent owned, and Peacock, the streaming service for NBC. Fox and FS1 will continue to show a large portion of the football matches at the conference.
In 2023, CBS will broadcast seven football matches. The network is still tied to the Securities and Exchange Commission through a contract that requires the conference’s best game to be broadcast exclusively by CBS at 3:30 p.m. Beginning in 2024, the Big Ten will occupy the afternoon window throughout the season.
NBC will broadcast from 14 to 16 football games each season, presenting programs described as “Big Ten Saturday Night,” in an effort to mirror the network’s success with “Sunday Night Football.” These three major networks will share the rights to broadcast Big Ten football, with Fox broadcasting the game in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, and CBS broadcasting (2024, 2028) and NBC (2026) a marquee event in the other years.
CBS will broadcast the championship game for both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
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