On Thursday morning the Big Ten made official what had been rumored for weeks. CBS and NBC were in in the conference’s new media rights deal and ESPN/ABC who had televised at least some Big Ten games for over 30 years is now out. The highlight will be a over the air network triple header beginning in 2024 where Fox will air a 11 AM football game, CBS will air a 2:30 game, and NBC will air a game in prime time. But, the downfall is that Big Ten fans will need to shell out for Peacock if they want to be able to see all their teams games going forward.
So let’s break down the major components of the deal and what will each network get. A reminder that nothing will change in the 2022-23 season which will be the final deal under the old contract where Fox and ESPN shares broadcast rights.
Beginning in 2023 Fox/FS1 will carry up to 27 regular-season football games in 2023 and BTN will broadcast up to 41 games in 2023. CBS will only carry 7 games in 2023, and none in the coveted 2:30 slot as they finish out the final deal of their SEC contract. NBC will broadcast 16 regular-season Big Ten games in 2023. Games on NBC will simultaneously stream on Peacock. NBC will carry a primetime game on Black Friday as well. Peacock will have 8 eight regular-season football games that will EXCLUSIVELY appear on the platform as well. If you don’t subscribe to Peacock, you don’t get to watch the game.
Starting in 2024 with the addition of UCLA and USC to the Big ten, the deal really begins. Fox raises its telecast number to 32 games per season from 2024-2029 while BTN will broadcast up to a maximum of 50 games in that period. Fox will have the #1 pick at least 50% of the deal and and will air that game in their Game of the Week 11 AM timeslot. Fox will also have a good chunk of the rights to the late night games and will likely feature many “Big Ten After Dark” kickoffs on FS1 from USC and UCLA. CBS’s portion of the deal officially accelerates in 2024 with up to 15 Big Ten football games per season, including an afternoon game on Black Friday. They will have exclusive rights to the 2:30 window. All CBS games will air on main CBS and will be available to stream on Paramount +. It’s reported that the broadcast team of Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson will move with the network from the SEC to the Big Ten when the time comes. NBC will air 15 games from 2024-2029 with a featured prime time game each week and those games will also stream on Peacock. Brett McMurphy and The Action Network report that NBC will air prime time games on both Labor Day Sunday and Black Friday. Peacock will also have their 8 exclusive games each season.
The Big Ten will keep their “media draft” for the first pick of football games each week, though it is reported that Fox will increase their share of #1 selections in the deal with the remainder of the weeks split between Fox and NBC.
The Big Ten Football Championship Game will move to all three networks over the course of the contract as well. CBS will air the game in 2024 and 2028, FOX will air the game in the odd numbered years 2023, 2025, 2027, 2029, while NBC gets the game in 2026.
The 2022-23 season will seem similar to previous years as the contract runs out with Fox and ESPN. The lone change will be that CBS will now air the final of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament that previously aired on BTN. CBS will still air the semifinals and Final of the Big Ten Men’s Tournament.
Beginning in 2023-24 CBS will broadcast up to 11 regular-season men’s basketball games in 2023 and the semis/final of the Big Ten Tournament as well as the women’s championships game. Peacock will stream 32 regular-season men’s basketball games (20 conference games) in 2023-24 as well as the Opening night doubleheader of the Big Ten Tournament. They will also stream also stream 30 regular-season women’s basketball games (20 conference games) per year starting in 2023-24. Fox/FS1 will carry a minimum of 45 regular-season men’s basketball games per year, while BTN will carry a minimum of 126 men’s games per year. BTN will air the four Thursday games and four quarterfinal games of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament, as well as the Big Ten women’s tournament through the semifinals.
In 2024-25 once USC and UCLA join, CBS will up their number to 15 games (13 of which will be conference games), Peacock will increase their number to 47 games (32 conference games going forward while keeping their women’s coverage the same, and FOX/FS1/BTN will also keep their numbers steady from 2023-24.
It does not appear there has been a new Tier 2 contract which would cover other Olympic sports or things like volleyball, hockey etc. BTN will still cover a majority of the events with the vast majority of Olympic sports streaming on BTN+. Whether a new announcement will come later as to the coverage of some of the previous non-rev sport action that had previous aired on the ESPN family of networks including some volleyball, softball, hockey, and gymnastics will come in the future is yet unknown.
**EDIT** or maybe not. This paragraph was included in the NBC/Peacock press release on the deal and nowhere else:
NBC Sports/Peacock’s new agreement with college sports’ top conference will also feature dozens of men’s and women’s basketball games (including multiple games each year in the Men’s and Women’s Big Ten Tournaments), Olympic sports, golf and more, providing hundreds of hours of Big Ten content across Peacock.
What about the financials?
The Big Ten did not officially name the financials of the deal but multiple media sources have confirmed that has confirmed that CBS and NBC are each paying around $350 million per year for their Big Ten packages, and sources said that the Big Ten’s new rights agreements are worth more than $7 billion over the seven-year term. That would make it the largest rights deal ever for a college athletic conference. The deal also only goes for seven seasons until the end of the 2029-30 season, four years before the current SEC contract with ESPN expires allowing the Big Ten to once again set the market rate for a package prior to the other major conference. The Big Ten also has said that they are potentially not done expanding and there are clauses in the deal that could potentially expand it further with the addition of new teams. Of note the AP is reporting that the large increase in revenue to the conference won’t kick in until the third year of the deal and gradually will increase over the final five years. Thus expect the payouts to the current Big Ten teams to remain relatively stable through the 2024-25 season and then schools will see increases heading upwards of 70-75 million per school near the end of the deal.
So What are the Major Things to Know?
Starting in 2024 the Big Ten will be on network TV for football from 11 AM until near 10 PM each Saturday with games on Fox, CBS, and NBC.
ESPN is out, no more games of any kind beginning in the fall of 2023.
Get to learn, know and love Peacock. With 8 exclusive football games and 47 men’s basketball and 30 women’s basketball games per season, every single Big Ten team will have at least one or two games where the only way to watch them will be via the streaming service.
It will be a learning curve for all of us, change is good, and hopefully we can have some amazing broadcast experiences for the Minnesota Gophers on national TV!