Report: ESPN, B1G not expected to renew TV deal during 'exclusive window'
ESPN and the Big Ten are in an “exclusive window” to renew their media rights deal, but sports media insider John Ourand of Sports Business Journal says don’t expect the parties to announce a renewal.
Ourand discussed the ESPN and B1G partnership in a Monday article. Per Ourand’s sources, the conference appears to prefer taking things to the open market once the exclusive window – which doesn’t have a stated end date in the report – closes.
The reason: several other networks have expressed their interest in taking the Big Ten’s rights from ESPN. Interest from CBS, Fox and NBC virtually ensures that the conference will see a hefty increase from the $440 million that ESPN and Fox pay each year. It’s the same premise as buying a house — prices go up when you have multiple bidders.
The open-market move makes sense for the B1G. As SBJ notes, CBS will be without SEC football rights after the 2023 season. Fox, a significant Big Ten Network partner, “has made it known that it wants to wind up with a bigger deal,” according to the report. Ourand also writes that “NBC is salivating over the prospects of fall Saturday doubleheaders with Notre Dame games leading into Big Ten ones.”
With all that interest in the B1G, it should lead to a significant deal for the conference.