Conference realignment has made sweeping changes in college football in recent years — and months — with top schools such as Texas, Oklahoma and USC announcing their intention to bolt from their longtime homes for greener pastures. However, it’s not just schools making waves. It’s the conferences themselves, too.
The big networks, such as ESPN, Fox, CBS and NBC, are all negotiating for the media rights to the Big Ten. As the negotiations near the finish line, the Big Ten is poised to make this shocking move with ESPN, as reported by John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal.
Barring a last-minute change of direction, ESPN will be not carry Big Ten games for the first time in 40 years.
SBJ Media is live:https://t.co/p7BVat3fcl
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) August 8, 2022
Ourand adds that a Big Ten deal media deal could be completed by the end of the week. As of right now, the frontrunners appear to be CBS and NBC. ESPN, the longtime home of Big Ten college football, may have to set their sights elsewhere.
The Big Ten is reportedly looking for a media deal worth upwards of a $1 billion. Front Office Sports has reported that NBC is seeking to make a splash in the NFL and college football, airing Saturday night Big Ten games and Sunday night pro games.
CBS, which is losing SEC games to ESPN, could make up for that loss by securing a deal with the oldest conference in Division I sports. Meanwhile, ESPN, which appears to be on the outside looking in compared to the other three major networks, could shift its focus to the Big 12 and Pac-12 media rights deals.
Of course, the Big Ten could make the biggest statement of all if they secure a megadeal from CBS, NBC and Fox. It will be interesting to see what happens.