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Big Ten Agrees to Historic Media Rights Contract Reportedly Worth at Least $7B

Adam WellsAugust 18, 2022

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Big Ten will be raking in cash under its new media rights contracts with six different media outlets.

The conference announced Thursday it has agreed to distribution agreements with CBS, Fox, NBC and NBCUniversal's Peacock, as well as returning partners Big Ten Network and FS1, that will begin July 1, 2023, and run through the 2029-30 season.

Per Brett McMurphy of The Action Network, the deals will earn the Big Ten between $7 billion and $8 billion with escalators that could bring the total value up to $10 billion.

As negotiations between the Big Ten and networks were ongoing, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported last week that ESPN pulled out of talks after the conference proposed a seven-year deal worth $380 million per year.

Per Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger, the offer to ESPN would have given the network around 13 football games per season (down from 27 on the current deal) and the second- or third-best Big Ten game of the weekend in prime time.

Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger

ESPN turned down an opportunity to bid on the Big Tenโ€™s No. 2 game - the 3:30 p.m. kickoff package - that ultimately is expected to go to CBS, sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/SInow?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SINow</a>. <br><br>Keep in mind that the league already has 3:30 p.m. &amp; primetime windows for SECโ€™s No. 1 &amp; 2 games.

ESPN has broadcast Big Ten games without interruption since 1982. This season will mark the final year of its deal with the conference.

In 2020, ESPN and the SEC announced a 10-year media rights deal beginning in 2024 that is worth around $300 million per year. ESPN will gain the rights to every SEC football game and men's basketball game, and ABC will air at least one football game each week.

CBS has broadcast rights to SEC games through the 2023 season.

The broadcast agreements come as the Big Ten is on the verge of expansion. USC and UCLA will join the conference as full-time members in 2024.

There has been speculation that Notre Dame football could join the Big Ten, but Ourand noted Monday that the school will probably remain an independent as it continues to negotiate a new rights deal with NBC.

According to Ourand, the Fighting Irish would "likely" add more Big Ten games to their schedule in the future given the conference's new rights deal with NBC and Peacock.

McMurphy added the Big Ten is still targeting Pac-12 programs Oregon, Washington, Stanford and Cal in its ongoing expansion efforts.

Terms of the new deals will have Big Ten football games on television virtually all day every Saturday during the season. Fox has rights to games at noon ET, followed by CBS at 3:30 p.m. and NBC in prime time.

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