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CBS and NBC are closing in on Big Ten rights deals

Tim Baysinger
Aug 9, 2022
Illustration of a football in the shape of a dollar sign, sitting on a kickoff tee.
Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

CBS and NBC appear poised to join Fox in landing media rights to the soon-to-be-expanded Big Ten conference, Sports Business Journal reports.

Why it matters: This would effectively give CBS a replacement for the SEC, while NBC gets a bigger foothold in college football outside of Notre Dame.

  • Unless ESPN makes a last-ditch effort, this would end one of the longest-running rights partnerships in media, dating back to 1982.
  • ESPN is taking over SEC football rights starting in 2024 as part of an expanded deal with the conference.
  • Fox, given its 61% stake in the Big Ten Network, was never in danger of losing its rights and was even involved in the talks with other networks.

Details: In addition to being the first conference to eclipse $1 billion annually, The Big Ten would also be the first to land three major national rights partners.

  • The Big Ten would have three national game windows on Saturdays: early afternoon on Fox, late afternoon on CBS and primetime on NBC.
  • The New York Post's Andrew Marchand reports that CBS will pay $350 million a year for its Big Ten package, slightly more than the $330 million that ESPN is paying for SEC football alone.
  • Depending on how high the Big Ten can go, college sports' two super-conferences would command as much as $2 billion in rights fees each year.

What's next: Over the next couple of years, the Pac-12 and the Big 12 will get to fight over what's left of the media rights pie.

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