The reports noted this would end a 40-year partnership between the Big Ten and ESPN.
"If ESPN moves on from the Big Ten, look for the company to be especially aggressive in trying to secure Big 12 and Pac-12 rights, as well as renewing its deals with the NCAA Championships and College Football Playoffs," per Ourand.
Although the full terms of the deals aren't finalized, Ourand added the Big Ten is poised to earn more than $1 billion annually. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported CBS on its own is expected to shell out $350 million each year.
Front Office Sports' Michael McCarthy and Amanda Christovich reported in July the conference might be able to command $1.1 billion to $1.25 billion after bringing in USC and UCLA.
The bigger question was whether the Big Ten would branch out and pursue new opportunities away from ESPN.
McCarthy and Christovich reported Aug. 3 that NBC was pitching how it could make the Big Ten "the NFL of college football conferences."
"As negotiations near the finish line, NBC is proposing a strategy that calls for back-to-back Big Ten and NFL games in prime time TV on Saturday and Sunday nights, said sources," per the report.
Aligning with CBS, which is losing its coverage of SEC games, effectively fills the void created by leaving ESPN/ABC. According to The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach, the conference wanted to have a consistent slate of national broadcasts every week.
Not only is the super-conference era here, but it looks increasingly likely the best programs across college football will be split between the Big Ten and SEC. The Big Ten's media deals certainly sets the stage for a head-to-head battle against the SEC each and every game day.
There's clearly some risk in breaking away altogether from ESPN and the family of networks fans most associate with sports. The impact of the Big Ten's absence on ESPN is likely to be felt much more during college basketball season.
Collecting 10 figures annually from Fox, NBC and CBS should help to soften the blow.