Big Ten Drops ESPN: Inks Record Deal With CBS, NBC/Peacock, Fox

The Big Ten Conference has ended a decades-long relationship with ESPN in favor of seven-year distribution rights agreements with NBC/Peacock, CBS and Fox. 

The deals, reportedly valued at more than $1 billion per year, are the largest in college sports history. The rights commence July 1 and run through the 2029-30 season. 

Including its recently announced additions of USC and UCLA, the once Midwest-focused Big Ten has evolved into a national conference, driving up the value of the rights, which will be shared by all 16 member schools. 

The new agreements include coverage windows (including pre-game coverage) for each of the three broadcast networks on college football Saturdays: 11 am on Fox, 2:30 pm on CBS, and prime time on NBC.

NBC will broadcast 14 to 16 games per season starting in 2023, with its coverage dubbed “Big Ten Saturday Night”— marking the first time that Big Ten football will have a dedicated weekly primetime game on a national broadcast network.

Those games will be simul-streamed on NBCUniversal’s Peacock. In addition, Peacock has exclusive rights to eight other regular Big Ten football games per season, along with up to 47 regular-season men’s basketball games (32 conference and 15 non-conference) and 30 regular-season women’s basketball games (20 conference and 10 non-conference).

CBS will televise seven football games in 2023 and both regular-season and postseason men’s basketball, along with the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament final. The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinals and final will continue airing on CBS.

All CBS Big Ten football and basketball broadcasts will be simul-streamed on Paramount+.
Starting in 2024, CBS will televise up to 15 regular-season football games per season, including an annual Black Friday game in the afternoon.
Fox has renewed its deal to televise football and men’s basketball games each season, with the opportunity to carry additional sports throughout the year.

The Big Ten Conference’s partnership with Fox reached its high point during the 2021-22 year, as Fox captured the No. 1 time slot in college football for the first time with its Big Noon Saturday platform that featured 10-14 games involving a Big Ten team, and a men’s basketball season that ended with the top three most-watched games in the history of FS1, all featuring Big Ten programs. 

CBS, Fox and NBC will share coverage of the seven Big Ten Football Championship Games during the agreements’ term, with CBS having the rights in 2024 and 2028, NBC in 2026, and Fox in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029.

The Big Ten Network — co-owned by Fox and the Big Ten — will continue to televise a full slate of football, basketball and Olympic sports throughout the year.

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