Big Ten’s new media deal signifies enormous victory
The Big Ten scored a big win on Monday that will make its wallet much thicker starting this fall.
The conference completed its media rights deal by agreeing to a six-year deal with ESPN worth $190 million annually for the second half of its TV rights package, according to a report from the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand. ESPN’s renewal comes two months after the Big Ten agreed to a deal with Fox worth $240 million per year for the first half of its rights package.
In total, Ourand reports the Big Ten will garner $2.64 billion over the next six years for the entire package. The Big Ten tripled its current value with that deal alone. The deal computes to $444 million annually and that would be divided into approximately $31 million per school, which is on par with what SEC schools pulled in following the inaugural College Football Playoff. The deal should be officially announced by the conference’s annual kickoff luncheon July 26, according to Ourand.
CBS Sports will continue to televise Big Ten basketball games, including the conference tournament semifinal and championship games, for $10 million per year. Big Ten Network, which Ourand reports is 51 percent owned by Fox, will also continue to televise both football and basketball games.
Big Ten fans might be channel-surfing a bit more than usual, however. Fox will televise the Big Ten football championship during each year of the deal and will also have selection preference over ESPN for football games, according to Ourand. That means Fox will take the first pick each week, which means an iconic game like Ohio State-Michigan could be on Fox the next six years.
This agreement is certainly one of the most lucrative TV deals among the Power Five conferences. The Pac-12 conference agreed to a 12-year deal worth $2.7 billion in 2011, an average of $225 million annually. The Big 12 reached a 13-year deal worth $2.6 billion total and $200 million annually in 2012 and the ACC reached a 12-year media rights agreement worth $1.86 billion and $155 million per year. To compare, the Big Ten will make $440 million annually in its new agreement.
The obvious measuring bar on and off the field is the SEC, whose media rights deal is a bit different because of the SEC Network. The conference reported TV/radio rights fees of $311.8 million for the 2014-15 season.
The Big Ten gets a shorter deal worth much more money annually when compared to the other Power Five conference packages and also gets its brand distributed across multiple networks.