ESPN has been showing Big Ten games for over 40 years, but that partnership appears to have ended in the final stages of college football’s realignment.
The four-letter network has pulled out of its negotiations with the Big Ten, effectively ending the relationship between the two, reports SBJ’s John Ourand.
Sports Business Journal originally reported that the Big Ten had offered ESPN a seven-year deal worth $380 million a year as part of a new deal.
But ESPN said no, walking away from the talks entirely and giving CBS and NBC a chance to come to the table, according to multiple reports.
That means no more Big Ten football or basketball will be happening on the ESPN networks for the foreseeable future.
The Big Ten’s current media deal expires after the 2023 season, and the conference has held talks with networks about broadcasting their sports.
According to The Athletic, ESPN currently pays the Big Ten $190 million a year. This latest offering would have doubled that number.
Analysts have predicted that the Big Ten could earn up to $1 billion combined from all of their media businesses starting in 2024 after adding USC and UCLA.
CBS is preparing to offer the Big Ten in the “neighborhood” a $350 million-a-year contract to show football games in its 3:30 p.m. Eastern time slot, which currently shows SEC football. according to to the New York Post.
The Big Ten’s move away from ESPN follows the SEC’s decision to move its broadcast partnership from CBS to the ESPN/ABC networks beginning in 2024. Prior to that, the SEC was partnered with CBS for almost 20 years.
Fox already owns the Big Ten’s so-called “A” game package – the most prestigious matches in a given week – and will be showing a football game from the conference at 12:00 p.m. EST on their network.
This is in addition to viewing B1G games on FS1 and the Big Ten Network.
That means CBS and NBC are negotiating the right to split the “B” package, or games deemed secondary, right behind the week’s most impactful matchups.
Big Ten officials answered to reports on his media rights negotiations and said:
The Big Ten Conference is currently working with world-class partners to secure a variety of media rights agreements. The overall constructs of the new rights agreements are not yet complete. The conference continues to have productive meetings with partners for both linear and direct consumer media. We strive to provide unparalleled resources and outreach opportunities for member institutions, athletic programs, athletic students, coaches and fans of the Big Ten Conference. We are very grateful to the media companies who recognize the value of the Big Ten programs and want to make them available to our fans around the world in a forward-thinking way.
Whatever happens, it seems we’ve been watching recent Big Ten football on ESPN, at least for a while.
Follow College Football HQ: Bookmarks | Ranking | Facebook