The Big Ten is on the cusp of television deals that are expected to pay it in excess of $1 billion and create a college football triple-header featuring Fox, CBS and NBC, The Post has confirmed.
If the agreement goes through, ESPN will be out of the business of Big Ten football and basketball for the first time in 40 years. The deals with all three networks are not finalized. The Sports Business Journal media writer John Ourand, who is also a podcast host, first reported the news.
The Saturday format would likely be Fox with the noon kickoff followed by CBS in the late afternoon and NBC in prime time. Sources told The Post that CBS is expected to pay in the neighborhood of $350 million per year for the 3:30 p.m. game.
This will replace the SEC, which will be moving all its games to ABC/ESPN in a deal that pays the SEC around $330 million for its top football games beginning in 2024. ESPN and the SEC have a separate agreement that encompasses more football and other sports that brings the SEC number to around $700 million.
If these deals go through, then next up will be the Pac-12, which ESPN likes because of its late night windows. The Big 12 is out there, as well, which could be a fight between ESPN and Fox. Amazon and Apple have shown interest in getting in the college football game, as well.
There is also the possibility of further realignment that muddies the water.
ESPN’s SEC deal got sweetened when the SEC took Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12. Fox, which has part ownership of the Big Ten Network and is involved in all the current negotiations, was helped when the Big Ten became an even more attractive TV property by recently adding UCLA and USC.