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Monday, July 15, 2024

Big East Signs Six-Year Media Deal With Fox, NBC, and TNT

  • The package welcomes two new networks, though Fox will remain the primary rights-holder.
  • The deal is a culmination of the Big East’s decade-long rebuild.
Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

On Thursday, the Big East announced it has signed a new six-year media-rights package with Fox Sports, TNT Sports, and NBC beginning in 2025–26. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal is crucial to the long-term health of the league, which is winning championships without any football money.

The current deal, a 12-year package with Fox Sports and CBS for about $500 million, expires at the end of 2024–25. Starting in ’25–26, CBS Sports will no longer have a relationship with the conference.

One source suggests to Front Office Sports that the league will see an increase of around 30% to 40% on the average annual value of the current deal. The existing package averages about $41.7 million per year, so the future deal could be worth in the $55 million range annually, divided among the league’s 11 schools.

The deal promises to provide increased visibility for the entire Big East. Women’s basketball will specifically receive elevated treatment in the new deal, which guarantees threetimes the current amount of airtime for women’s games across all networks.

Fox Sports will remain the primary rights-holder for the conference, owning at least 80 men’s and women’s college basketball games during the regular season and postseason. The network will also retain the rights to the Big East men’s tournament final. 

NBC will have the rights to more than 60 men’s and women’s regular-season and postseason games, including some of the early rounds of the conference basketball tournaments. Most of these games will air on Peacock. This season, the streamer will also air 30 men’s games.

TNT Sports will broadcast more than 50 men’s regular-season basketball games and at least 15 women’s regular-season games. The games will all appear on Max, and several will also be broadcast on affiliates truTV and TBS. This part of the deal guarantees that the Big East will have a regular-season relationship with one of the networks that broadcasts men’s March Madness. The deal beefs up TNT’s college slate, as it recently secured rights to some of the 12-team College Football Playoff.

“Big East basketball has historically delivered some of the most thrilling teams and moments in college sports, including its most recent accomplishments, and we are excited to showcase the conference and its fantastic men’s and women’s college basketball programs,” TNT Sports chairman and CEO Luis Silberwasser said in a statement.

The new media package is a culmination of the Big East’s decade-long rebuild after it was picked apart by a round of football-driven conference realignment in 2013. At the time, the conference reformed as a basketball-centric league, completely eschewing FBS football. Fox launched its FS1 channel in conjunction with the Big East, and the two have had a mutually beneficial relationship ever since then. Eric Shanks, CEO and executive producer of Fox Sports, called the Big East “a pillar of our college hoops lineup” in a statement.

Throughout the past 10 years, the conference has retaken its place at the top of college basketball in both the men’s and women’s game. In 2020, the conference welcomed back UConn, which provides a perennial championship contender in its women’s team as well as a men’s team that is searching for a three-peat championship this upcoming year. The Huskies programs undoubtedly contributed to their media value and overall appeal, sources previously told FOS. 

This is a developing news story and will be updated.

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