The Big Ten has completed a new seven-year media rights agreement with Fox, CBS and NBC that is set to bring in more than $7 billion to one of the nation’s most powerful athletic conferences.
The deal will begin July 1, 2023, and run through the end of the 2029-30 athletic year. Specific terms were not disclosed, but a financial windfall won’t come immediately, according to media sources. The CBS payout in Year 1 of the agreement is lower since it still will be carrying SEC games during the 2023 season and will air only seven Big Ten contests that fall. But the Big Ten’s per-school distribution will turn upward in Year 2 of the deal, when new members USC and UCLA enter the conference. Revenue will rise substantially beginning in Year 3.
The Big Ten is projected to eventually distribute $80 million-$100 million per year to each of its 16 members. According to USA Today, the league distributed $54.3 million to most of its members during the most recent fiscal year (2019-20) not impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s very expensive to operate our athletic departments,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren told ESPN. “These new deals will continually provide stability for our athletic departments to service our students in a highly productive manner, allowing them to get a world-class education but be treated in a manner that they rightfully deserve.
“This will help our student-athletes in their continued pursuit of name, image and likeness opportunities, because now you’re going to be on linear TV from morning to night on Saturday with three massive organizations.”
All three networks will carry future Big Ten football championship games. Fox, which will remain the Big Ten’s primary broadcast partner and has carried the title game since its inception in 2011, will broadcast the championship in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029 (in addition to the 2022 game). CBS will carry the game in 2024 and 2028, and NBC will in 2026.
The Big Ten designed the agreement to pair major networks with specific windows on college football Saturdays. Fox will air games beginning at noon ET. CBS, which has a deal with the SEC that expires after the 2023 football season, in 2024 will begin airing Big Ten games in the same midafternoon window. NBC will carry Big Ten games in prime time, which will be branded “Big Ten Saturday Night.” Big Ten games also will appear on Peacock, NBC’s direct-to-consumer streaming platform.
“People need to know where they need to go, at what time, and what content they’re going to get,” Warren said. “That’s how you build fan avidity from a long-term standpoint. We will have three clearly defined pockets of Fox at noon, CBS at 3:30 and NBC in prime. That was important for me, that we have window pairs.
“The more you can cross-promote other shows that are carried and other content that’s carried by these media partners, it’s incredibly helpful.”
The Big Ten Network will continue to air football games — up to 50 per year from 2024 through 2029 — as well as most of the league’s men’s and women’s basketball games and Olympic sports. The Big Ten will add a second Black Friday football game on CBS (Iowa and Nebraska have traditionally played a Black Friday game on Fox).