Presser Bullets: Gene Smith Excited By “Huge” Big Ten TV Deal, Favors Eliminating Divisions in the Conference As Soon As Possible

By Griffin Strom on August 18, 2022 at 12:57 pm

Gene Smith had eight billion reasons to meet with media members after Ohio State practice on Thursday.

The Big Ten announced a record-breaking new TV deal this morning which will see CBS and NBC replace ESPN as network partners for the conference beginning in 2023. The landmark deal may reportedly be worth upwards of $8 billion over a seven-year window, although Smith said some of the financial details are still being worked out.

Smith addressed the interworkings of the deal, whether or not student-athletes will receive a portion of the revenue and the potential for the Big Ten go divisionless in the near future at a press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Check out a bullet-point breakdown of everything Smith talked about Thursday.

Gene Smith

  • "Excited, great opportunity for all of our athletes in the Big Ten conference, including USC and UCLA when they transfer in in 2024." Smith says he's excited about the "new diversity in our platforms.
  • Smith says having a "traditional, linear network is important," but that taking advantage of streaming platforms is also important.
  • Smith says the financial details aren't set yet, and that some numbers that are out there might just be projections based on the previous deal. "The money was huge."
  • Smith says "ABC and ESPN were great partners and we enjoyed tremendous success with them as partners. ... Gonna miss them, but we have new great platforms moving forward."
  • Kevin Warren made "unbelievable" moves as he "masterminded" the plan for the Big Ten's new media rights deal, Smith says.
  • Smith says the Big Ten is talking about no divisions, but that decision has not been finalized.
  • On the prospect of Big Ten athletes getting a piece of the new TV revenue: "Frankly, they're already getting a piece of the television revenue." Smith says the facilities and staff at Ohio State are "an investment in them."
  • Smith says as soon as "pay for play" starts, "I'm out."
  • "It's gonna be high-level excitement with CBS and NBC. ... Out of the shoot they're gonna be jacked up, they're gonna be brainstorming on ways to entertain the fans."
  • Smith says he and Chris Holtmann had a "great conversation" about scheduling future basketball games against programs that will still be on different networks, such as ESPN.
  • Smith says Ohio State's travel costs for all sports have "gone up significantly" in the past year. Smith says he's "praying" for a 12-team College Football Playoff 
  • On Notre Dame: "I love my alma mater ... I assume we're gonna beat them on September 3rd like we have historically done." Smith says Notre Dame is "so ingrained in the independent culture."
  • On the Big Ten not having divisions, Smith says he would be in favor of doing so "next week."
View 50 Comments