SBD/January 7, 2013/Media

Presidents Of "Catholic 7" Schools Reportedly Shopping TV Rights, Expect Lucrative Deal

A TV deal for the basketball conference with the "Catholic 7" is said to be "far along"
The seven Catholic schools that plan to leave the Big East to form their own basketball conference "expect to double their money off a television deal," according to sources cited by Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Sources said that Fox, whose Fox Sports 1 channel is set to launch in August, "has an initial high offer on the table of more than $500 million for a 12-year deal." Sources said that officials with Fox on Wednesday are "scheduled to meet with those representing the interest" of the Catholic 7 in N.Y. A "high-ranking source at NBC Sports Network, which has so far engaged in preliminary discussions with the 'Catholic 7,' declined comment." ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz also "declined comment on the network's interest." The presidents of the schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova -- met in N.Y. on Friday to "discuss the intricacies of the new conference and announced that they retained the legal services of Proskauer Rose and Pilson Communications for television negotiations." The TV deal "is said to be far along." The Legacy Agency Partner Jordan Bazant has "helped bring Fox to the table." Reps from St. John's and Georgetown "took the lead in those early discussions" (ESPN.com, 1/5).

ESTABLISHING PARAMETERS: In Chicago, Toni Ginnetti writes the parameters of Catholic 7 TV negotiations "will involve more than dollars." In addition to the substantial revenue any TV deal would generate, the schools also are "interested in establishing coast-to-coast exposure that can advertise ‘the brand' of the new league." DePaul AD Jean Lenti Ponsetto said, "We’ve hired a very capable television consultant in Neal Pilson, and I know everyone wants our product. But I don’t think you can negotiate a television deal until you know when you will leave." The seven schools currently "receive about $2 million each from the Big East television deal that expires after this season." The proposed packages would "offer at least twice the current payout" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/7).
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