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Big East Football: NBC Sports' Reported Power Play Will Be a Positive for League

LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 21:  Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Louisville Cardinals runs with the ball while defended by Justin Francis #91 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 21, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterAugust 6, 2012

Thursday, the New York Daily News reported that the Big East and NBC may be very close to working out a deal for the television rights to the conference (h/t Big East Coast Bias). From the report:

Sources suggest that if NBC, which is desperate for sports inventory, signs a TV contract with the conference, it would be willing to pay the Big East football teams $10 milllion apiece and throw in an additional $4 million for the 16 basketball schools. One of the network’s ideas may be to run a full day of Big East football, along with Notre Dame home games, from noon to midnight Saturdays on either NBC or its still-growing cable channel.

On so many levels, this is flat-out tremendous. A $14 million number for the league's football schools would be a major step towards closing the gap on the next closest BCS league: the ACC. More importantly, though, the Big East would join the SEC as the only conference with a national broadcast network deal.

The cable deals are nice. Everyone has a cable deal, and they get to beam their games into the homes of millions through ESPN, the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports, the Pac-12 Network, CBS Sports and, of course, the online viewing options. Throw in the ABC regional coverage, and the footprint for most leagues is fairly broad.

However, broadcast networks always beat cable when it comes to ratings and exposure. If the Big East is on NBC, paired with or sandwiching Notre Dame games, the league will get valuable eyeballs on its brand. Throw in the ability to simulcast games on not just NBC but on NBC Sports, as well as a studio show and the chance to grow the conference and network together, and you have a great match.

The Big East is now a national conference spanning from Connecticut to San Diego. That means it will have an opportunity for the late-night West Coast games, the early kickoffs and the midday games as well, creating the all-day television-fest college football fans love.

Early-starting East Coast games for the noon kickoff and the early-morning West Coasters. Midday games in Texas on NBC Sports while Notre Dame takes center stage on the mothership. The Fighting Irish leading into the West Coast kickoff, where either Boise State or San Diego plays host to more Big East action.

NBC needs content, and the Big East provides just that.

A chance to go coast to coast, all day, on the network's two channels, is going to be tough for NBC to pass up. We'll see how it plays out, as nothing is final yet. NBC appears to be the leader, but as negotiations continue, we'll see if CBS or ESPN have any plans to block the Peacock by offering more money.

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