Two month ago, Fox Sports agreed to take about half of the Big Ten Media rights for a price tag of about $240 million per year, and this morning word broke that ESPN will be taking the other half for an average of about $190 million a year for the next six years, according to the Sports Business Journal.
ESPN and the Big Ten have had a long-lasting relationship, so rumors have swirled the past few months that maybe ESPN would be cutting ties with the conference to save some extra money. The worldwide leader agreeing to shell out $2.64 million over the next six years for the media rights clearly puts those rumors to bed.
According to the article, the deals with Fox, ESPN, and CBS (who holds basketball-only rights for $10 million annually) are nearly triple the amount that ESPN and CBS had been paying for the same programming, and that does not include the Big Ten Network’s (which Fox has a majority stake in) rights deal. That deal runs through the 2031-32 sports seasons.
Fox and ESPN will now air about 25 football games and 50 basketball games each year, and Fox Sports has the rights for the Big Ten title game every season. As far as who will air what games, Fox and ESPN will have a draft of sorts heading into each season with Fox getting the first, and ESPN pick number two, with the two media giants alternating thereafter.
According to the SBJ, the six-year agreements for ESPN and CBS (for basketball rights) are being vetted by lawyers, and officials for the league hope to have official announcements ready by the end of July.
Big Ten football on both Fox and ESPN is a good deal for all fans involved, and social media seems to be rejoicing this morning with the announcement.