The way we consume Fighting Illini — and Big Ten — football & basketball is about to change in a major, major way.
Word broke last week that ESPN would not be renewing its broadcast rights deal with the Big Ten once the current agreement expired at the end of this season, thus ending its 40-year partnership with the conference.
CBS, Fox, and NBC had reportedly come to terms with the Big Ten on a new media rights agreement, and now we know the particulars:
The #B1G has reached distribution agreements with CBS, FOX, NBC and NBCUniversal's Peacock.— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) August 18, 2022
The new partners, in addition to Big Ten Network and FS1, to place Big Ten Conference student-athletes on the biggest stage in sports. https://t.co/TxLxuZlaOk pic.twitter.com/FtKwkrupLJ
BREAKING: The Big Ten’s media rights deals are done. Fox, CBS and NBC will carry Saturday games.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 18, 2022
Peacock will exclusively stream 8 football games per year. CBS and NBC will have Black Friday games.
Inventory breakdown and more details @TheAthletic: https://t.co/UtkAmtlZ9O
Expanded exposure and a financial windfall for athletic departments at Iowa, Illinois and their Big Ten peers will be a byproduct of a seven-year media rights agreement announced by the https://t.co/ALf14O80UJ— QCT Sports (@QCTsports) August 18, 2022
Big Ten lands 7-year media rights agreement w/Fox, CBS, NBC, Peacock & FS1 worth record $7 billion-$8 billion, network sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. Contract escalators may increase value to nearly $10 billion, so B1G "is not done expanding," sources saidhttps://t.co/irRBVeQjYc— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 18, 2022
That deal, which runs through the 2029-30 season, is worth susbstantially more than what the Sports Business Journal reported the Big Ten offered ESPN earlier this month:
ESPN has pulled out of Big Ten media rights negotiations, ending one of the longest sports media relationships in the business. ESPN said no to the conference’s final offer of a 7-year/$380 million per-year package, sources tell SBJ.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) August 9, 2022
Story to be filed soon.
If that math is correct, that’s a $2.66B deal. This new contract is worth nearly THREE TIMES that. With that kind of initial valuation the partnership with CBS/NBC/Fox is an absolute no-brainer for the conference.
Each Big Ten school will reportedly receive approximately $60 million at the onset of the deal with the payout increasing to an estimated $100 million per member beginning in 2025.
More from McMurphy:
In 2024, CBS will televise the Big Ten football title game, ending 13 consecutive years on Fox. The upcoming Big Ten football title games:— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 18, 2022
We have #B1G news to share!— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) August 18, 2022
The @bigten is coming to NBC and @peacocktv in 2023.
Learn all the details: https://t.co/27YCFdOEFa pic.twitter.com/kxZDDzbP4L
“The Big Ten Conference media rights agreements are more than just dollars and deals. They are a mechanism to provide stability and maximum exposure for our student-athletes, member institutions and partners,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren in a statement Thursday.
Commissioner Warren added, “we are very grateful to our world-class media partners for recognizing the strength of the Big Ten Conference brand and providing the incredible resources we need for our student-athletes to compete at the very highest levels.”
The stage is only getting bigger!#Illini | #HTTO | https://t.co/2AhKfIih4K pic.twitter.com/QeOQKltXLD— Illinois Athletics (@IlliniAthletics) August 18, 2022
Illinois AD Josh Whitman also issued a statement, saying the upcoming rights deal “will further amplify the brand of our league through unprecedented partnerships with a collection of the most prominent, dynamic media companies in the world.”
CBS’ creative team wasted no time with putting together their hype video:
Hello, @B1Gfootball.— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) August 18, 2022
Hit the music. pic.twitter.com/PbMHPql1Cz
This agreement is obviously a financial boon for the Big Ten and its member schools. The landscape of college sports is constantly changing, and it’s better to be ahead of the times than get left behind. This billion-dollar-per-year contract will certainly provide greater stability for the Big Ten while also providing many more enrichment opportunities for student-athletes on and off the field of play.
The long-term ramifications really affect the viewer — the Big Ten got their bag, so that’s all that really matters to them. It’s not gonna be as simple as turning on Channel 4 or Channel 6 or Channel 8 or Channel 18 or Channel 26 (shout out to my fellow Quad Citians). Even those that still subscribe to satellite providers like DirecTV or Dish are going to miss out on a great deal of games.
It’s a lot to remember, but our Big Ten brother site, Off Tackle Empire, lays things out pretty succinctly here.
Streaming is the “new” thing. And if you’re an Illinois football fan, it’s safe to assume you’ll need to find out how to download Peacock to your smart TV — or spend hours trying to explain to your parents what Peacock even is (hi, it’s me).
Change is hard, but necessary. And with any other technological advancement, those that want to figure it out will figure it out. But this is a hugely positive result for the Big Ten, and there should be plenty more good news to follow.