Tuesday October 3, 2023

ESPN Ends Historic ACC/Big Ten Challenge After Media Rights Shakeup

  • Starting in 2023-24, ESPN will host an ACC/SEC men’s and women’s basketball challenge.
  • The event will replace the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, given that ESPN will no longer have Big Ten rights.
Ohio State guard attempts contested lay-up against two Duke players in mens college basketball game at Ohio State
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch
Front Office Sports Today

NBC Could Get In On College Football Playoffs

NBC is exploring broadcasting a slice of the expanded CFP in 2026.
Listen Now
October 3, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

ESPN is already distancing itself from the Big Ten only a few months after the conference announced a media rights package that won’t include the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Its first target: historic non-conference basketball challenges.

On Monday, ESPN announced it has decided to kill the ACC/Big Ten Challenge after more than 20 years of play for the men and 15 for the women. Starting in 2023-24 — the year the Big Ten will leave ESPN — the network will commence an ACC/SEC matchup instead.

  • The challenge will include 28 total games — and 30 when Oklahoma and Texas join the SEC in 2025.
  • Conferences will split home games equally.
  • ESPN, of course, will broadcast every matchup on one of its networks.

As a result, this year will be the last for the ACC/Big Ten slate, which ESPN marketed as a “first-of-its-kind event.” There was, however, an ACC/Big East Challenge before it.

How The Big Ten’s Blockbuster Media Deal Impacts Basketball

From the role of streaming to the questions posed by ESPN’s absence.
August 18, 2022

The Big Ten’s new deal was the catalyst for the shuffle. In August, it announced the most lucrative conference-wide package in history: a mid-$7 billion deal with Fox, CBS, and NBC. ESPN will have no broadcast rights to Big Ten sports for the first time in 40 years. 

The SEC/Big 12 men’s challenge will also end after this season. The Big 12 inked a less lucrative renewal with Fox and ESPN in October, but the conference appears to be a casualty of the Big Ten’s move.

“We thank both the Big Ten and Big 12 for their partnership in the final year of our existing events and look forward to finding more ways to creatively partner with both conferences in 2023-24 and beyond,” ESPN Vice President of Programming, Nick Dawson, said in a statement.

Perhaps the biggest winner is the ACC, which was previously considered the weakest of the Power 5 conferences because of a contract with ESPN that runs until 2036. The network, however, appears to be taking care of its own.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Football analyst and PFF investor Chris Collinsworth talks to man in front of computers

Cris Collinsworth 'Lost a Lot of Sleep' Over Pro Football Focus Leadership Issues

New book details why it’s no longer a “happy place to work.”

Big-Dollar Clubs Home For MLB Playoffs, But Money Still Matters

Postseason field includes set of lower-budget upstarts
NBC is interested in media rights to the expanded College Football Playoff.

NBC Is Interested in Expanded College Football Playoff Media Rights

NBC is one of the networks pitching the CFP, a source confirmed.

RedBird IMI Makes Strategic Investment in Front Office Sports

RedBird IMI is a joint venture between RedBird Capital Partners and International Media Investments focused on high-growth media companies.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

NBC Could Get In On College Football Playoffs


Featured Today

MLB Attendance Surges 70 Million, Tops League Projections

League posts best year-over-year increase at the gate since 1993
Levi's Stadium
October 2, 2023

49ers Study Shows Benefits of Public-Private Stadium Deals

Levi’s Stadium has generated more than $2 billion per new study.
Formula 1 drivers in a pack at the start of the Montreal Grand Prix
October 1, 2023

Apple Reportedly Making Push For Global Formula 1 Rights

The tech giant could offer $2 billion a year for the rights.
September 30, 2023

Baltimore Looks To Return To The Oriole Way

Lease deal offers new hope, but market and economic challenges remain.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations
Taylor Swift

NBC's 'Swift Bowl' Draws Monster 27 Million Viewers

It was the most-watched Sunday show since Super Bowl 57.
October 2, 2023

DSG Seeks Extension As Reorganization Pressure Mounts

Bankrupt RSN operator looks to file restructuring plan in late November
College football is taking over Saturday night.
September 30, 2023

How College Football’s Biggest Games Took Over Saturday Night

Network competition and West Coast storylines helped college football stage a coup.
September 29, 2023

ESPN, Tiger-Rory Golf League Close To Long-Term Deal

New entity backed by Woods, McIlroy nears critical agreement
Toy Story
September 29, 2023

‘Toy Story’ Success Could Lead to More Disney-Branded NFL Kid-Casts

A successful ‘Toy Story’ game could open the door for other franchises.
September 28, 2023

ESPN Takes Next Step To Control Women’s College Basketball Rights

The WBIT will launch this season.
Jamie Erdahl and cast of NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."
September 28, 2023

Jamie Erdahl Reflects On Rapid Transition To Hosting ‘Good Morning Football'

Erdahl talked to FOS about her experience since taking over the morning show from longtime host Kay Adams in July 2022.
Taylor Swift at Chiefs vs. Bears game.
September 27, 2023

Taylor Swift NFL Hype Likely To Continue Another Week

Swift could drive blockbuster TV ratings for NBC's "Sunday Night Football."