Report: NBC Pitching Big Ten As the 'NFL' of CFB in TV Rights Contract Talks

Erin WalshAugust 4, 2022

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NBC is competing with a number of other broadcasting companies for the Big Ten's television rights, and it appears the network has a specific plan to make the conference the pinnacle of college football.

NBC intends to turn the Big Ten into "the NFL of college football conferences," according to Michael McCarthy and Amanda Christovich of Front Office Sports.

The idea would be for NBC to air back-to-back Big Ten and NFL games in prime time on weekend nights, according to Front Office Sports. Such a plan "could vault the Big Ten past the rival Southeastern Conference as the premier college football draw on sports TV."

"The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home," a source told Front Office Sports. "It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America."

The Big Ten's media rights deal is set to expire after the 2023 season, and the league is expected to fetch "at least $1.25 billion" per year for its next deal, per Front Office Sports.

Aside from NBC, bidders for the conference's rights include Amazon, ESPN/ABC and CBS Sports. The winner will air games alongside Fox Sports, the conference's main television partner.

It's no surprise that the Big Ten's media rights have become more sought after than ever.

Two of college football's premier programs out of California—USC and UCLA—are set to join the Big Ten from the Pac-12 Conference in 2024. With the move, the Big Ten will become a 16-team "super conference" and will be able to compete with the SEC, which is set to add Texas and Oklahoma by 2025.

The SEC reached a new $3 billion media rights deal with ESPN/ABC two years ago that is set to go into effect in 2024, just before the Longhorns and Sooners join the conference. The network will pay the conference $300 million annually over 10 years.

The Big Ten already features some of the best teams in college football, including Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, but adding UCLA and USC will make things that much more interesting come 2024.


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