Major news outlets, Fox (FOX), CBS (PARA), and NBC (CMCSA) are joining forces for the largest media rights deal in the history of college athletics. The three broadcasters will spend more than $1 billion annually over seven years for the rights to Big Ten football, basketball, and other sports.
The deal will significantly increase individual payouts to member institutions, pushing the conference to a similar payout to the Southeastern Conference.
“The Big Ten Conference media rights agreements are more than just dollars and deals," Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a press release. "They are a mechanism to provide stability and maximum exposure for our student-athletes, member institutions and partners during these uncertain times in collegiate athletics."
The deal is a notable win for traditional broadcasters who have seen increasing competition from Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) in the sports streaming space. Both tech giants had reportedly been in talks with the Big Ten during the bidding process.
“We are very grateful to our world-class media partners for recognizing the strength of the Big Ten Conference brand and providing the incredible resources we need for our student-athletes to compete at the very highest levels, and to achieve their academic and athletics goals," Warren added.
The deal, however, doesn’t include ESPN (DIS) which had previously broadcasted Big Ten sports for the last 40 years. ESPN, according to some Wall Street analysts, has become more selective with its spending during the recent sports streaming wars and will still maintain a significant college football footprint with the media rights to the SEC starting after the 2023 season.
The Big Ten struck the deal to create a similar structure to an NFL Sunday, where the content bounces to different stations throughout the day, staring with Fox at noon, followed by CBS at 3:30 and NBC at night.
Streaming will still play a role in the new deal, though.
CBS will stream its games on Paramount in addition to the linear broadcast, while NBC will delve deeper into its streaming bet with eight exclusive games on the direct-to-consumer streaming service Peacock.
NBC has spent handsomely on sports rights already, including $7.75 billion on the Olympics.
“We are incredibly excited to be partnering with Kevin Warren and the Big Ten Conference on this robust package of sports,” NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua stated. “With Big Ten Saturday Night and Sunday Night Football headlining each fall weekend in primetime on NBC and Peacock, along with our historic Notre Dame Football partnership, NBC Sports will be the home of premier games in college football and the NFL."
Josh is a reporter and producer for Yahoo Finance.