The 2022 college football season shifts into high gear this weekend, but the Big Ten Conference has been making headlines off the field for weeks with a landmark, multi-billion dollar media rights agreement. The conference announced two weeks ago it had completed a new seven-year deal worth more than $7 billion with Fox, CBS, NBC, and NBC Universal’s Peacock streaming network. The deal will also include games on the Big Ten Network and FS-1.
“The football part of this is a bonanza for the conference,” said The Sporting News senior writer and Big Ten Network analyst Mike DeCourcy on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick. “Lots of great news for Big Ten fans about the exposure of their teams.”
The seven-year media rights deal with CBS, Fox and NBC begins July 1, 2023, and runs through the 2029-30 season.
It is believed to be the largest in the history of college athletics and further strengthens one of the nation’s most powerful athletic conferences.
Fox will air a featured a high-profile game on Saturdays at noon ET with CBS following at 3:30 p.m. and NBC wrapping up each week with the Big Ten game in primetime.
“That will follow a great lead in, at least for now, from Notre Dame [and] their home games,” DeCourcy said.
The Notre Dame games air under a separate deal between NBC and the university. It runs through the 2025 season. DeCourcy wonders at what point does Notre Dame decide its football program should enter a conference and the allure of the Big Ten media dollars.
“I think keeping the door open for Notre Dame, it’s just good business there. They have a fabulous brand. They have a fabulous following a great program in both football and men’s basketball, women’s basketball as well. I think keeping the door open to them makes total sense,” said DeCourcy.
The deal also includes games on the NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock, the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports One (FS1). However, the deal excludes ESPN, which first partnered with the Big Ten for football game broadcast rights in 1982.
While football is the primary prize of the Big Ten deal, DeCourcy says basketball is notable.
“CBS, I think in particular, will get the chance to improve their regular season games. They’ve had some real duds on the network,” said DeCourcy. “Now they’ll get some really good Big Ten games.”