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Big Ten Inks Record-Breaking $7B TV Deal

Big Ten Conference
(Image credit: Big Ten Conference)

ROSEMONT, Ill.—In the most lucrative media rights deal in college sports history, the Big Ten Conference has announced new distribution agreements with CBS, Fox, NBC and NBCUniversal's Peacock. 

The seven year deal running from the fall of 2023 to 2030 is worth $7 billion according to the Associated Press (opens in new tab), citing anonymous sources. 

The deal notably leaves out ESPN, which had aired Big Ten sports for decades (opens in new tab)

The deal also comes at a time when University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) have announced they will be leaving the Pac 12 and their traditional west coast rivalries to join the Big Ten Conference in August 2024. 

Under the new deal, the Big Ten Network (BTN) and FS1 will continue to have rights to games. 

In announcing the deal, the conference said “these landmark media rights agreements are the most comprehensive in all of college sports,” allowing the conference to “dominate Saturdays, beginning in the fall of 2023 on the largest broadcast platforms from morning to night, with Fox at Noon ET, CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET and NBC in Prime Time. With the addition of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) in August 2024, the conference, its student-athletes and member institutions will reach the broadest audience in the country, coast-to-coast, including the top three media markets in the country in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.”

The media rights agreements will begin July 1, 2023, and run through the 2029-30 season. 

The Big Ten Conference said that the new media agreements grant the following rights to their partners:

  • BTN will maintain its strong position as the home for Big Ten fans, as the network will continue to televise a full slate of football, basketball and Olympic sport competition throughout the entire year.
  • CBS's initial season in 2023 will include seven football games and both regular season and postseason men's basketball action, along with the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament final appearing on CBS for the first time. The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament semifinals and final will continue the tradition of airing on CBS, which they have done for 25 years. Every CBS Big Ten football and basketball broadcast will also be streamed on Paramount+, Paramount Global's direct-to-consumer streaming service.
  • Starting in 2024, CBS will televise up to 15 regular-season football games per season, including an annual Black Friday game in the afternoon. CBS is America's most-watched network for the past 14 years and the highest-rated college football network. 
  • Fox has renewed its agreement 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 #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. 
  • NBC will produce 14-to-16 games on broadcast television each season as it introduces college football fans to Big Ten Saturday Night. Each Big Ten game on NBC broadcast will also be simul-streamed on Peacock, NBCUniversal's direct-to-consumer streaming service. NBC Sports has established the most dominant primetime franchise in television history, as its Sunday Night Football has been primetime's No. 1 show for an unprecedented 11 consecutive years – a streak that is currently active.
  • Peacock, NBCUniversal's direct-to-consumer streaming service will deliver exclusive Big Ten football and basketball games each season, as eight regular-season football games will appear on the platform along with as many as 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).

In addition, CBS, Fox and NBC will combine efforts to televise the seven Big Ten Football Championship Games during the term of the deal according to this schedule:  

  • CBS: 2024, 2028
  • Fox: 2023, 2025, 2027, 2029
  • NBC: 2026

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.