With the Big Ten’s media rights set to expire in 2023, major networks are gearing up to bid for some of the most sought-after packages in college sports.
NBC Sports is expected to make a major push for the Power 5 conference’s rights, sources tell Front Office Sports. The Big Ten could command fees of up to $1.1 billion annually on the open market, said sources.
NBC views the combination of the Big Ten along with its existing deal with Notre Dame football as the “perfect one-two punch,” said one source. With its $100 million-per-year deal with the NHL off the books, NBC has the cash and ambition to boost its college portfolio.
“If I’m ESPN or Fox, I’m looking over my shoulder because NBC is going to go hard after the Big Ten,” said another source.
“We don’t comment on specific strategies of our company, but we’re always interested in high-quality sports with wide appeal,” an NBC Sports spokesperson told FOS.
The Big Ten is currently in an exclusive negotiating period with ESPN, Sports Business Journal reported. CBS, which will lose SEC football rights after the 2023-24 season, will reportedly also be particularly interested.
Media Rights Benchmarks
In 2017, the Big Ten inked a six-year, $2.64 billion package that pays out about $440 million each year.
But in 2020, a new bar was set with the SEC’s gargantuan 10-year, $3 billion deal with Disney that will commence in 2024.