Sources: NBC Sports Net Makes $20-23M Verbal Offer For Big East Media Rights
NBC Sports Network has "verbally offered" the Big East $20-23M per year for six years to acquire the conference's media rights, according to sources cited by McMurphy & Katz of ESPN.com. Once the Big East receives a formal offer, it must give current rights-holder ESPN the "opportunity to match the deal." NBCSN's deal with the Big East would "include a 'bridge year' for basketball in 2013-14 and then would 'sync' the football and basketball deals together for another five to six seasons so they expire at the same time." Prior to the expiration of ESPN's exclusive window to renew its rights in November, the Big East had sought a deal of $300M per year from ESPN, "which would have been the largest in college athletics." A source said that ESPN "declined." NBCSN's current offer would earn each Big East member about $2M annually, "depending if the league has 11 or 12 members." The Big East's current six-year media rights deal is worth $3.12M annually for "each of the eight full members" and $1.5M annually for "each of the remaining non-football members." Meanwhile, sources said that the Catholic 7 basketball schools are "closing on a deal" with Fox Sports worth $30-40M per year "depending on how many teams are in the league" (ESPN.com, 2/9).
WHAT'S IN A NAME? ESPN.com's Andy Katz cited a source as saying that the remaining Big East schools "expect a legal battle with the departing schools for the Big East name, which carries with it branding rights and national recognition" (ESPN.com, 2/9). In Philadelphia, Mike Jensen wrote, "Big East football as a brand doesn't have much value anymore." The group of remaining schools in the conference "needs to get away from the punch lines." New branding "makes strategic sense" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/10).