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Big Ten Now Expects Even Bigger Media Rights Deal

  • Big Ten could become richest conference in college sports.
  • But there's mounting frustration over Fox Sports' role in media rights negotations.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With the additions of USC and UCLA, the Big Ten now hopes to earn 50% more in media rights fees — at least $1.5 billion annually, sources told Front Office Sports.

If the conference can pull this off, it could become the richest in all of college sports — with a media deal that dwarfs even that of the mighty Southeastern Conference.

The Big Ten told FOS that it “is grateful for the quality and quantity of potential media partners. At this time, it would be inappropriate to speculate during ongoing negotiations.”

Last week, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said publicly that the conference was finalizing negotiations. The Big Ten’s current deal pays around $440 million annually.

Sly Fox

The deal could include a conglomeration of the biggest networks, FOS reported. But there’s growing frustration over the role of Fox Sports in the Big Ten media rights negotiations. 

Fox is the conference’s primary TV partner and part-owner of the Big Ten Network. Fox executives are directly involved in the negotiations.

Sports TV executives from the likes of NBC, ESPN, and CBS are uncomfortable submitting financial bids and sharing their information in front of rivals. 

“So who do you think is going to get the best game matchups? Fox,” said one source. “Bottom line, Fox is watching out for Fox, not the Big Ten.”

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