ESPN not expected to be part of next Big Ten media rights deal, per report
ESPN has carried Big Ten football and basketball games for much of its existence since coming on the air in 1979.
With the B1G currently negotiating its next media rights deal with its current one expiring following the 2023 season, several networks have wanted a piece of the pie with USC and UCLA coming on board in 2024. But ESPN appears to not be among the networks that will involved in the next deal, as CBS and NBC are said to be the “clear front runners” to gain rights alongside current B1G media partner FOX, according to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand.
However, that could change, with Ourand citing Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s ties to the B1G.
“ESPN still is negotiating with the conference, and as long as they’re talking there remains the possibility ESPN could wind up with a package,” Ourand said. “If ESPN moves on from the Big Ten, look for the company to be especially aggressive in trying to secure Big 12 and Pac-12 rights, as well as renewing its deals with the NCAA Championships and College Football Playoff.”
In 2020, ESPN and the SEC signed a 10-year deal to make the network the exclusive home of SEC football and basketball beginning in 2024, spelling the end of CBS’s longtime partnership with the conference. That expands a long-running deal between ESPN and SEC that includes the network signing on the SEC Network in 2014.
CBS, for its part, already has a relationship with the B1G as it carries conference basketball games, while NBC has been the longtime home of Notre Dame football but appears set to expand its college sports portfolio.
Meanwhile, FOX has been the B1G’s lead rightsholder since the 2o17 season, with the 2 sides apparently set to continue as partners for the foreseeable future.