Big Ten Athletic Conference Inks Record $7B Media Rights Deal That Includes Peacock, Paramount+ Streaming

The Big Ten Conference Aug. 18 announced that it has reached a record $7 billion distribution agreement with CBS, Fox, NBC and NBCUniversal’s Peacock. The breadth of new partners, in addition to Big Ten Network (BTN) and FS1, will place college conference football, women’s and men’s basketball and Olympic sports student-athletes on the biggest media stages and provide fans with matchups across traditional over-the-air linear television and direct-to-consumer streaming, including NBCUniversal’s Peacock and likely Paramount+.

This landmark media rights agreement is the most comprehensive in all of college sports and further strengthens the Big Ten Conference as it competes against rival conferences, including the Southeastern Conference (SEC), which primarily distributes its coveted football games on Disney-owned ESPN.

The agreement begins July 1, 2023, and runs through the 2029-30 season.

Big Ten university members include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers and Wisconsin.

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.

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“The Big Ten Conference media rights agreements are more than just dollars and deals. 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,” Kevin Warren, Big Ten Conference Commissioner, said in a statement.

Sean McManus, chairman, CBS Sports, said the reach of corporate parent Paramount Global’s linear and digital platforms (i.e., Paramount+) would create a powerful showcase for the Big Ten and its student-athletes.

“The Big Ten has been a valued partner for more than three decades and we are thrilled to expand that relationship by adding Big Ten football to our portfolio of marquee properties,” McManus said.

Pete Bevacqua, chairman, NBC Sports, said that when combined with the network’s “Big Ten Saturday Night” and NFL “Sunday Night Football,” the new Big Ten agreement expands upon its historic Notre Dame Football partnership.

“With the rights to a wide range of Big Ten events, Peacock and NBC Sports will be a year-round destination for the best in college sports,” Bevacqua said.

The Big Ten Conference 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 No. 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 NFL “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).

CBS, Fox and NBC will combine efforts to televise the seven Big Ten Football Championship Games during the term.

CBS: 2024, 2028

Fox: 2023, 2025, 2027, 2029

NBC: 2026

Founded in 1896, the Big Ten Conference provides more than $200 million in direct financial support to more than 9,800 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. Big Ten Conference sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013.

Redbox Ups College Sports Outreach With Pac-12 Marketing Deal

College students love to stream music and videos. So Redbox, which operates a network of kiosks renting DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies, has reportedly inked a marketing campaign with the Pac-12 college sports conference targeting students, their parents, alumni and sports fans.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Under the multiyear campaign, Redbox, starting this year, become an official marketing partner with all 12 member schools, which include: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University.

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The disc rental service, which also operates an on-demand digital platform, becomes an official partner for all Pac-12 Championship events, in addition to home football and men’s basketball games, with event signage and marketing rights. The deal also includes Pac-12 Networks’ linear and digital networks.

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Redbox, for the past two years, has been the title sponsor of the Redbox Bowl (originally San Francisco Bowl) featuring schools from the Pac-12 and Big 10 conferences.

The deal comes as attendance at football games declines. Since the 2012 season, when the Pac-12 drew 53,679 fans, attendance has dropped nearly 14% to 46,176 fans in 2019.

While some observers might link drooping football attendance to the quality of play on the gridiron, AJ Maestas, CEO of Navigate Research, told The Mercury News that enhancing consumers’ experience at games would offset escalating ticket, concession and parking prices — while ignoring wins and losses on the playing field.

“Leveling the playing field with the home viewing experience, timely video board replays, mobile phone connectivity, better food and beverage experience — those are just a few examples of possible in-stadium improvements,” Maestas said.

Now add a Redbox movie rental to the experience.

 

Comcast and ESPN Announce Launch of Sports Networks on Xfinity X1

Comcast and ESPN Sept. 5 announced the launch of ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + on Xfinity X1, giving sports fans the ability to stream over the Internet, directly on their television, coverage of college football with more than 150 live games, and more than 5,000 live events annually, including international soccer, Grand Slam tennis matches, college basketball and other collegiate athletics.

All content from across the three networks will be searchable with Comcast’s X1 voice remote and integrated into the same screens and menus as the other sports programming that comes with a customer’s Xfinity TV subscription, according to the announcement.

“Simplicity continues to be essential in today’s dynamic media landscape,” said Sean Breen, SVP, affiliate sales, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, in a statement. “We’re fortunate to have relationships with Comcast to seamlessly serve customers and sports fans on a platform that delivers the best of both traditional and digital video viewing experiences, and the addition of ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + are perfect examples of that.”

“From football and soccer to volleyball and field hockey, this launch gives college sports fans incredible access to live events from schools including Florida State, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh in the ACC, Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M in the SEC, and dozens more from across the entire country on ESPN3,” said Vito Forlenza, executive director, TV Everywhere content and product strategy, Comcast Cable, in a statement. “ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + add a new dynamic to the already deep catalog of sports programming that’s currently available on X1. Combined with universal voice control and the X1 sports app, we are providing customers with the richest, most immersive sports viewing experience in the country.”

With the three new networks customers can:

  • find live coverage from ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + intermixed alongside other live sporting events showcased within X1’s sports destination;
  • get access to the Xfinity Sky Cam’s live game feeds providing exclusive angles and commentary;
  • by saying “ESPN3,” “ACC Network Extra” or “SEC Network +” into the X1 voice remote discover everything available to watch live from the networks;
  • by asking for a specific team such as “Clemson Football” quickly access a team summary, including its current record and conference standing, and see a list of upcoming games airing across any network;
  • while watching the networks’ live online coverage on X1, follow along with real-time updates and data via the platform’s sports companion app for more than a dozen conferences such as the Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference, American Athletic Conference, Mid-American Conference and Conference USA; and
  • by saying, for example, “University of Connecticut Huskies Basketball Score,” get real-time scoring updates of the current game and the ability to tune-in live if it’s available to stream;

ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + are available on all eligible X1 set top boxes with Xfinity TV and Internet service.