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Friday, June 21, 2024

NBC Sees Big Ten Being ‘NFL of College Conferences’

  • NBC would televise prime time Big Ten/NFL games on Saturday/Sunday nights.
  • Big Ten could follow the successful broadcast TV model of the NFL.
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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

NBC has already pushed the idea of combining Big Ten telecasts with its existing Notre Dame coverage as a “perfect one-two punch.” 

Now, as rights negotiations with the conference near the finish line, NBC is proposing a strategy that calls for back-to-back, prime-time Big Ten and NFL games on Saturday and Sunday nights, said sources.

  • NBC is pitching a fall Saturday football schedule that includes triple-header coverage of Big Ten games on Fox, CBS, and NBC from early afternoon to night.
  • The slate would be followed by NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” the most-watched show in prime time for a record 11 straight years.

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

NBC, ESPN, and Amazon declined to comment on negotiations. The Big Ten did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Billion-Dollar Deal

The Big Ten is expected to command at least $1.25 billion annually for its next media rights deal from bidders including NBC, Amazon, ESPN/ABC, and CBS Sports. The winner will air games alongside Fox Sports, the conference’s primary TV partner and an operating partner in the Big Ten Network.

The Big Ten’s current media rights deals expire after the 2023 season. 

Editor’s note: For more on this Big Ten story, click here.

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