SBD/February 27, 2014/Colleges

Big Ten Contemplates Adding Friday Night Football As Part Of Future TV Packages

TV contracts for the Big Ten currently run through '16 (Fox) and ’17 (ESPN/ABC)
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany at a conference administrators meeting this week in Chicago is "trying to get feedback to be used in negotiating the next series of TV deals for the league" and "wants to know where his constituents stand" on the possibility of Friday night football games and night games in late November, according to Andy Baggot of the WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL. The Big Ten's current TV contracts "run through 2016 (with Fox for the conference football championship game) and ’17 (with ESPN and ABC for regular-season games)." Delany and other conference administrators "would be wise to think hard about the concept of adding" Friday games. Baggot: "It’s my understanding Friday games might be once every three or four years -- again, we’re looking at least four seasons down the road before this would kick in -- but there are a lot of toes being stepped on here." If Delany "has a price in mind for the Friday option, it better be worth the PR challenges sure to come if the Big Ten travels down this road" (WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, 2/25). BTN.com's Tom Dienhart wrote the conference "could step in and own Friday night." Dienhart: "Make it the league’s own: 'Friday Night Big Ten Football.' Get a title sponsor. Write a theme song. Hire an A-team announcing crew. Lots of possibilities." Dienhart wrote, "I am sure a TV network would play handsomely for such a package, just as we have seen the networks dole out massive sums of loot to the NFL for its Monday, Thursday and Sunday night TV packages." The Big Ten "should schedule a package of attractive Friday games, and put the product on the table for networks to bid on, and go from there" (BTN.com, 2/25). In Florida, David Moulton writes under the header, "Leave Fridays Alone, Big Ten." Moulton: "Someone needs to stand up and ask, 'When is enough, enough?'" (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 2/27).
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