The Big Ten Conference media rights contract is set to expire at the end of the 2023 season and as it stands right now, FOX and ESPN pay a combined $430 million for these rights. Negotiations have been ongoing for some time between Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and media outlets but within the last month, the cost of doing business with the Big Ten grew exponentially.
At the end of June, it was reported USC and UCLA would join the Big Ten in 2024. Coupled with Chicago and New York, Los Angeles would give the Big Ten a presence in the three largest media markets in the country — a coast-to-coast conference and brand.
When speaking to the media in Indianapolis this week, Warren elaborated further:
“We are in a perpetual state of evaluating what’s next for college athletics, what’s next for the Big Ten Conference, what’s next for College Football Playoff, what’s next for the NCAA, what’s next for the Transformation Committee and what’s next for the future of how we operate in this environment called college athletics. Our bowls, our partnerships.
“And I’m a big believer that the reason we are dealing with a lot of issues that we are dealing with today is because the business of college athletics has grown faster than the structure and the governance of college athletics. Media rights, we’ve been working on those. I’m incredibly pleased with where we are. We have great opportunities. We’re finalizing our deals, and I look forward to standing before you to make an announcement sometime here, sooner than later.”
In an interview with The Athletic published Wednesday, FOX Sports President and COO Mark Silverman echoed a similar timeline as Warren: “I would be surprised if it goes to Labor Day.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of this lucrative deal’s power to reshape the landscape of college football for the next decade. But rest assured, as college football realignment is in a state of constant flux and conferences worry about their viability in the face of change, the Big Ten and the reigning Big Ten champion Michigan Wolverines are going to be just fine.