clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Three things we’d like to see with the new Big Ten TV deal

There are plenty of options.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Media Days Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

This week, the Big Ten signed a seven-year, $7 billion contract with Fox, CBS and NBC (plus the streaming services) for coverage of their athletics. The new deal provides some interesting opportunities with three games that will be highlighted in each time slot on each network every given Saturday starting next year. Plus, those that aren’t nationally televised could be broadcast on Peacock or Paramount+.

Making the most of these streaming platforms and the new deal in general will be key for the Big Ten, especially if they want to get to the point where they can pay players like Kevin Warren mentioned in an interview on Saturday.

That full interview will air on Aug. 23 at 11 a.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max, and should provide some major insight as to where the Big Ten is headed.

As we approach this new era of the Big Ten and college football, here are three things we’d like to see in this new TV deal that could propel the Big Ten to the top.

1. Hard Knocks style shows

The streaming platforms bring a really interesting addition to what the Big Ten could do. NBC is synonymous with football. Their Sunday night broadcast has dominated, and they are hoping to tap into that with Saturday night Big Ten broadcasts.

They could very easily transition that into their streaming service as well. It would be loads of fun to have Hard Knocks types of shows each season for one football team. Could you imagine tapping into Nebraska’s spring or preseason practices as Scott Frost is on the hot seat? We could get into more detail of the ridiculous stuff happening in their practices like this:

The stories and headlines would be absolutely endless. Imagine a look into USC in its second year under Lincoln Riley and now joining the Big Ten from the West Coast. Viewership would be crazy.

But it could also bring to light some other situations as well, especially in non-revenue sports. It could bring more fans to watching these non-revenue teams on a weekly basis, something that would greatly benefit them.

If they could get anywhere near the production value and hype that Hard Knocks gets on a yearly basis, it would obviously be a major success. Deeper dives into some of these programs by either Peacock or Paramount+ would be a lot of fun for everyone and could bring more viewers to those non-rev sports that they will air on their platforms.

2. More expansion

In the same interview mentioned above, Warren said he would like to see 20 teams in the Big Ten. Rumors say they are targeting some more Pac-12 schools like Oregon and Washington, and then there is the white whale of Notre Dame. And don’t forget, previously, there have also been links to Kansas and Oklahoma State.

This new deal allows the opportunity for the Big Ten to be showcased on national television on various channels throughout Saturdays. With the 12 p.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. and primetime kickoffs, the Big Ten has set this up like the NFL where the biggest games of the day will be played for everyone across the country to see.

This means geographical situations no longer matter. There may be concern for college basketball and late night broadcasts, but I doubt it would become a situation where it would be impossible for fans to watch because the nights got too late. Every professional sports outlet has been able to do this for decades, and it’s exactly what the Big Ten is trying to replicate.

In my opinion, the Big Ten should be favored to bring in Notre Dame. The new partnership with NBC makes the Big Ten the frontrunner if Notre Dame ever decides to join a conference. If Stanford finds a way into the Big Ten, almost every major rival for the Fighting Irish would play in the conference. That revenue and flexibility for the rivalry games has been the top reason the Irish have stayed away from a conference in the past. The Big Ten could eliminate every excuse in the book and make it more than reasonable for them to join.

Besides, it’s only a matter of time before we are looking at a Power 2 anyway. If the Big Ten or the SEC get any more of the top dogs, these already depleted conferences will be looking even worse, and no one is going to want to be left behind. These programs will be flooding to the money and security that each conference provides.

3. Film breakdowns/alternate broadcasts

ESPN had a really good idea with Kobe Bryant to do film breakdowns of NBA players and teams. They transitioned that into college football with Peyton Manning breaking down some NFL players and games, and Nick Saban doing the same for his Alabama teams. While enjoyable, I think they were barely scratching the surface of what is possible.

Could you imagine Reggie Miller, UCLA grad, doing a film breakdown of specific players to showcase how brilliant they are, or what they need to work on to make it at the next level? Or how about a broadcast only on Paramount+ where instead of commercial breaks, a personality provides analysis mid-game? I feel like people would flood to alternate broadcasts, even if they are a bit delayed, so they get more content and a deeper understanding of the game.

The same could be true on NBC with Tony Dungy, who was once a Minnesota Golden Gopher, on the football side of things. People continuously complain about how long the commercial breaks have been for college football, so why not eliminate them on the streaming apps since people are paying a fee for the service?

Then the app could compile those breakdowns and have a more dedicated show towards specific teams. That would be really fascinating to watch throughout the season.

ESPN is tinkering with a similar alternate broadcast with the Manningcast on ESPN2. While it still has commercial breaks, I feel like that style of watching games could be the future of the industry. It would be wise (and also really cool) for the Big Ten to get something similar running as soon as possible on their new platform partners to see how the audience would react.

What do you want to see in this new media deal? Let us know your ideas in the comments!