New Big East, Fox Sports Formally Ink 12-Year, $500M Deal; ESPN Signs Mountain West
The new Big East yesterday formally inked a 12-year, $500M contract with Fox Sports, a “sum that will rise" to $600M if, "as expected, the league expands to 12 members,” according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. The Big East “will provide a lot of basketball for Fox Sports 1, with its regular season and tournament games.” Fox “probably got a bargain.” It “locked up the long-term rights to a new conference, with its storied name and some of its stalwart basketball colleges” for between $40-50M per year, “far less than the huge deals received by the Pac-12 and ACC” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/21). The deal will begin with the ’13-14 academic year. Fox Sports co-President & co-COO Randy Freer said of the agreement, “It does extend to all sports in the conference. We anticipate doing a number of sports including women’s basketball and lacrosse. There are some great baseball teams in the conference and we look forward to determining where we can best highlight these great universities and their great programs” (Fox Sports). In Providence, Kevin McNamara notes the deal would provide “roughly” $40M per year for the 10 schools, while Providence College and the other non-football schools were “pocketing less than” $2M per year from ESPN in recent years. Former Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe “has been hired as a consultant” to the conference. A search firm is “actively looking for candidates to be the Big East's next commissioner.” Georgetown President John DeGioia said that Big East HQs “will be based" in N.Y., although he “did allow that some staff could work from a different locale” (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 3/21). In N.Y., Anthony Sulla-Heffinger writes despite “rumors that the Big East would also look to add Dayton and St. Louis to its ranks, the conference will remain 10 teams through the 2013-14 season at the very least” (N.Y. POST, 3/21).
MOVING MOUNTAINS: ESPN has signed a multiyear deal with the Mountain West Conference that runs through the '19-20 season. Financial details were not released for the new package of games that came from the closing of the conference's channel, the mtn. CBS Sports Network controls the main package of MWC games through an existing deal that also runs through '19-20 and pays the conference about $6M annually. Deal terms have one of ESPN's channels or ESPN3 carrying up to 16 football games, plus every Boise State home game, as well as 31 men's basketball games per year. ESPN has committed to carry at least three Boise State home games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. The rest of Boise State's home games could be moved to ESPNU or ESPN3. CBS holds the rights to Boise State's in-conference road games. The deal includes "TV Everywhere" components, with games being made available on the WatchESPN app. Last year, ESPN sublicensed four MWC football games from CBS Sports, marking the first MWC games on ESPN since '05 (John Ourand, Staff Writer).