Big Ten scores media rights deal worth more than $1 billion per year: What we know

Scooby Axson

Conference realignment in college athletics over the past 15 years has changed the way the sport looks and is played. As a result, some rivalries and traditions have been thrown out right along with it. 

Television networks have taken notice, too, and some are willing to pay big bucks for premium packages to feature the best teams and conferences. Leagues which want to boost their financial might can't be complacent.

The Big Ten announced a major move Thursday with its media rights deal worth an average of $1 billion per year that partners the conference with Fox, CBS and NBC through the 2029-30 seasons for football and men's and women's basketball

The Big Ten logo is displayed on the field before a college footall game between Iowa and Miami (Ohio) in Iowa City, Iowa., Aug. 31, 2019.

Here's everything we know about about the next big step in the high-stakes game of media rights in college athletics: 

What's in the Big Ten rights package?

The league announced Thursday a seven-year deal with several networks will that will pay a reported average of more than $1 billion per year. A Saturday football triple-header with Fox, NBC and CBS is the highlight of the package that also includes men's and women's basketball coverage.

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Fox will continue to air the league's premier game at noon ET, with CBS showing the 3:30 p.m. ET offering and NBC taking the primetime slate. The contract takes effect for the 2023 football season, however CBS won't begin its mid-afternoon window until 2024 with its contract to show SEC games running through 2023. CBS will still air seven Big Ten games in 2023 at other times.  

ESPN is not part of the deal. The Big Ten has enjoyed a four-decade relationship with network which will come to an end after this season. The conference reportedly rejected the network's $380 million a year offer. 

Where does the SEC fit in?

The traditional 3:30 p.m. ET Southeastern Conference game that CBS has broadcast for the past two decades will switch over to ABC/ESPN starting in 2024 and runs concurrent with a deal the league already has those broadcast partners that ends in 2034. That deal includes all other league sports, with exclusively with football and men's college basketball, and arrives as Oklahoma and Texas is set to join the league in 2025 or sooner. 

What about streaming services?

Peacock will stream Saturday night Big Ten games shown on NBC and also air eight exclusive rights football games and as many as 47 regular-season men’s basketball games (32 conference and 15 non-conference) and 30 regular-season women’s basketball games. Other streaming services such as Apple+ and Amazon Prime have already pushed their way in to the broadcasting space with historic multi-million dollar deals with the NFL, MLB and Major League Soccer, Look for those services and others to be major players before it's all said and done. 

Let's make deal: Pac-12, Big 12, Notre Dame and Group of Five

The rest of the power players, especially in college football, will also be looking for homes, especially if the price is right. 

CBS Sports reported that Notre Dame football, which has been on NBC since 1991, could stay put as an independent if it can secure at least $75 million from the Peacock network. The deal with NBC ends in 2025. 

The Big 12 has already made its intentions known when new commissioner Brett Yormark said the league was "open for business." In 2020, the Big 12 distributed $38 million to each member institution. This year, the SEC will give $54.6 million each to its schools after seeing its revenue increase substantially. The ACC gave its schools $32 million in 2020. 

The Pac-12 lagged behind in revenue, saying in May that it gave an average of $19.8 million to each school. Less than two months later, Southern California and UCLA announced their plans to go to the Big Ten and its media rights deal ends in 2024, which was originally a 12-year, $3 billion deal, with Fox Sports and ESPN splitting the television rights. 

The Group of Five has various deals spread across multiple networks. The American Athletic and Sun Belt have deals with ESPN for the next decade, while the Mountain West, Conference USA, and the Mid-American have deals with CBS Sports Network.