After months of rumors swirling around, claiming that ESPN and Big Ten would soon be ending their relationship when their media rights contract expired in 2017, the two have finally reached a deal.
Per the Sports Business Journal, the network and Big Ten came to a six-year deal that would pay $190 million per year in exchange for the second half of the the conference’s media rights package. This means that the 50-year relationship between the pair is guaranteed to last at least through 2023. ESPN will be paying less than FOX, who came to a $240 million that was agreed upon months ago.
The conference will be cashing in with roughly $440 million annually from its TV deals, over triple the amount it took in under the current deal.
According to the Sports Business Journal, the Big Ten and ESPN resumed talks as the FOX deal was being reported on. ESPN executives reportedly made the deal with Delany on May 19 in New York. It became official on June 7-8, when ESPN, FOX and conference officials met to review the details.
With this deal, FOX gets the Big Ten Championship and the first pick on game weeks to broadcast every year. ESPN gets second pick, and from there the two networks will alternate. Because of this, it is anticipated that Michigan and Ohio State game will be on FOX yearly.
This is good news for the conference, considering that it won’t be threatened by any type of ESPN boycott in the future. Still, ESPN does hold the rights to the College Football Playoff and is the home of the top ratings of any network in College Football.
The deal is especially good for the Big Ten financially, and will not interfere with the Big Ten Network’s TV Package. The network is currently over half-way owned by fox (51 percent), and has a deal with the conference that will extend through 2031-32.
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