ESPN low-balled Jim Delany during TV rights negotiations in 2009 and dared him to roll the dice. In what will forever go down as one of the bossiest lines uttered in Big Ten history, the reigning Big Ten commissioner reportedly replied, "Consider them rolled," before I assume chugging two Budweisers Stone Cold Steve Austin-style while heading for the door.
ESPN, however, would rue the day.
Delany reached out to Fox and created the groundbreaking Big Ten Network, which has the conference positioned in a foothold of strength during a tumultuous time of conference realignment. Its current deal, which expires after the 2017-2018 season, is reportedly expected to pay each member school $44.5 million in that final year.
And with another round of TV negotiations on deck here in the near future, Jim Delany reportedly thinks the price on the Big Ten brick aught to be a little higher.
Jim Delaney added Jim Harbaugh to #B1G... Have heard from reputable source he thinks new TV deal will be $50m per school avg- not kidding— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) December 29, 2014
With Fox and ESPN fighting tooth and nail for one of the most successful franchises in the sport, it won't surprise me when the final number eclipses $50 million per year. The Big Ten East, after all, has a bevy of Top 15 coaches in Meyer, Harbaugh, Dantonio, and Franklin.
And while the Big Ten might not be the best football conference, it's a straight bully in negotiations; that much is known.