CBS and NBC Reportedly In Line to Replace ESPN As Big Ten’s Secondary TV Partners

By Dan Hope on August 8, 2022 at 8:32 pm
Big Ten helmets

ESPN’s 40-year partnership with the Big Ten could be coming to an end.

According to a report by Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, CBS and NBC have emerged as the “clear” frontrunners to pick up Big Ten TV rights alongside Fox, leaving ESPN on the outside looking in.

Ourand reported Tuesday that ESPN has withdrawn from negotiations from the Big Ten, turning down a final offer from the conference that would have required ESPN to pay $380 million per year for a secondary package of games.

Amazon has also made a bid to stream games, per Ourand’s Monday report. Negotiations are nearing an end, however, as Ourand reports the Big Ten’s new TV deal could be announced by the end of the week or next week.

Fox has already locked in its position as the Big Ten’s primary rightsholder and will continue to broadcast a top game every week at noon as well as games on FS1 and Big Ten Network, in which it holds a 60 percent stake.

Deals with CBS and NBC have not yet been finalized, but it is expected that those two networks will split secondary TV rights, with CBS broadcasting games at 3:30 p.m. and NBC broadcasting games in primetime. Per Ourand’s report, NBC’s deal would also include a package of games to be streamed on Peacock.

ESPN has been broadcasting Big Ten football and basketball games since 1982 – and ABC has aired Big Ten games since 1966 – but that lengthy partnership is now set to come to an end next summer, when the Big Ten’s current deal with Fox and ESPN will expire next summer.

The new deal, which will begin in 2023, is expected to be the first deal with a college sports conference worth more than $1 billion annually. Per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, CBS is expected to pay around $350 million per year for its portion of the deal.

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