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Volume 25 No. 239
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Big Ten Formally Announces New Rights Deals Through '23 With ESPN, Fox, CBS

More than a year after the Big Ten reached media rights agreements with ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS Sports, Commissioner Jim Delany finally made a formal announcement. Speaking yesterday at Big Ten Media Day in Chicago, Delany said the conference has settled on six-year deals with the three media partners plus BTN. The Big Ten deals will bring in $2.64B to the conference, media deals that ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Scheduling Burke Magnus described as “industry leading distribution” for the conference. Sources said that Fox will pay an average of $240M per year over the six years, ESPN will pay $190M per year and CBS will pay around $10M per year for its basketball schedule. These media-rights deals will keep the Big Ten payouts among the richest for its schools, who are projected to collect about $51M each in ‘17-18, up from $36M in ‘16-17 because of the new TV deals. Those per-school payouts will increase annually through the end of these six-year deals in ‘22-23, and then the Big Ten will be back at the table for potentially even more revenue before any other power five conference. That is important in an era when coaching salaries are skyrocketing and schools are funding costly and extravagant facility upgrades. Even though the formal announcement was made this afternoon, sources said the deals still have not been signed officially. Delany blamed the delay between reaching an agreement on lawyers and the “elongation of getting t’s crossed and i's dotted that’s taken longer than we had anticipated.” He pointed to delays in figuring out the basketball schedule, with its four national TV partners (BTN, CBS, ESPN and Fox), as also being responsible. Magnus and Fox Sports Exec VP/Business Larry Jones were on hand to make the announcement. “Big Ten basketball has been a staple at CBS Sports since 1991, and we’re thrilled to continue our relationship with the conference,” said CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus.

WIDER CARRIAGE FOR BTN: BTN President Mark Silverman noted the conference TV channel has won carriage on digital distributors DirecTV Now, Hulu and YouTube TV and will make its content available on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. “Regardless of how the industry evolves, BTN will be committed to be available to all our viewers across the country,” Silverman said. “If you don't want to subscribe to cable anymore there are other ways to get the content. The key for us is to make sure that we're agnostic.”