The Big Ten sent major shockwaves through the college football world with its conference realignment news this summer after adding USC and UCLA. Now, the conference is the focal point of more groundbreaking change.
Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reports that ESPN has officially pulled out of media rights negotiations with the Big Ten, declining a 7-year $380 million-per-year deal that was the final offer by the conference.
This ends an over 30-year partnership between ESPN and the Big Ten that has been in place since the early 1980s. The relationship dates back even further if you include, ABC which is under the same Disney umbrella as ESPN.
Many expressed shock at the news and are eager to see where the Big Ten turns now that ESPN is out as a partner with the conference.
ESPN and the Big Ten officially breaking up. End of an era. https://t.co/Ynu8e2YgcP
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) August 9, 2022
We could be entering the final year of the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. https://t.co/vlgQSn8qx6
— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) August 9, 2022
There it is. End of an era. https://t.co/gsdJ1Fjrtf
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 9, 2022
Fascinating. A new age is upon us in Big Ten country. https://t.co/Bjb5hSa0u4
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) August 9, 2022
This could loom large when it comes to other conferences as well, as many are believing that ESPN could focus their attention on the Pac-12 following this news.
With ESPN out of Big Ten media rights picture, Pac-12 is more and more attractive to ESPN. Those late-night slots Friday/Saturday have considerable value (although not so much to Pac-12 fans). https://t.co/44M8h6KY4q
— Greg Hansen (@ghansen711) August 9, 2022
The divorce is official. B1G is moving to a cool bachelor pad while ESPN is looking for a cheap replacement (hi Pac-12 & Big 12).
No word on custody of the B1G/ACC Challenge, but like in all breakups, there are parts of this that are sad, but others that are incredibly exciting! https://t.co/HIfNtyqZxX
— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) August 9, 2022
While nothing has been official quite yet for a new Big Ten partnership, there are reports that CBS and NBC are “nearing” media rights agreement deals with the conference in what would potentially net the Big Ten $350 million annually from both media outlets, according to Ourand.
He added that the deal could be finalized within the next couple of weeks, and it is becoming more and more clear that the landscape of college sports is clearly being turned on its head more and more for both the schools involved and the viewers at home.