SBD/December 7, 2012/Media

Sources: Big East TV Deal Could Be As Little As $60M Per Year

Original estimates for the Big East TV rights deal were greater than $100M
A new Big East primary TV rights deal "might be worth only $60 million-$80 million per year," according to sources cited by Dennis Dodd of CBSSPORTS.com. It is believed that the league "went into negotiations estimating its rights' worth as significantly higher than $100 million per year," and it is "no secret that the league's existence might hinge on that value of that TV deal." The Univ. of Houston "has a provision in its pending deal with the Big East that it [can] get out of its agreement without penalty if certain revenue projections aren't achieved." Additionally, sources said that each incoming Big East member "has negotiated its own deal" regarding conference withdrawal. Under its current deal, Big East schools are "earning $4 million per year in primary rights fees." By comparison, the Pac-12 is "splitting approximately $250 million per year among its 12 institutions." Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco on Thursday said there are "six media companies" that want to deal with the Big East. Some of those are "easily identifiable," including the likes of ESPN, Fox and Turner. However, a source said that an "emerging technology company like Google could also be involved" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/6). Aresco at the '12 IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum said of the media rights deal, “The Big East brand is still extremely valuable. We’ve got to take advantage of the brand with 30 years of equity.” He added, "We reinvented ourselves to a large extent. ... I support this model that the basketball and football will cross-promote each other” (THE DAILY).

JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS: On Long Island, Greg Logan wonders if basketball-only schools like St. John's and Seton Hall "can expect a boost in revenue now that their TV rights are being packaged together with football to add value." Aresco said, "I can't say how we're going to divide revenue at this point. ... I've spent time talking to the basketball schools and making sure our basketball brand remains really strong." Aresco "admitted the Big East might have to negotiate contracts with multiple media entities to maximize revenue and denied the possibility of a move by the basketball schools to form their own league." He said, "Our basketball schools have been committed to this model. There are a lot of reasons to be with the football schools. We think, ultimately, it produces more revenue for everyone." Aresco said that the league is "considering a scheduling model where 'brand name' teams such as St. John's, Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette and Connecticut might play more home-and-home series." Aresco: "The media companies really like that idea, and so do our basketball schools" (NEWSDAY, 12/7).
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