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ESPN better buy a winter jacket because the network is being left out in the cold.
The Big Ten is currently negotiating a historic media deal, and after four decades of working with ESPN, the sports network is no longer in the running to be a part of the conference’s new media deal.
CBS and NBC are the leaders to join Fox as the networks carrying B1G action, and the deal is expected to easily exceed $1 billion annually.
Fox already agreed to the “A” package, which means the network will get the first crack at premier events. CBS and NBC are expected to split a “B” package.
The “B” package would include B1G football games at 3:30 EST on CBS and then primetime games on NBC. So, in theory, the three best B1G games of the day would be on Fox at noon EST, CBS at 3:30 EST and then NBC to close out the day.
To make matters worse for ESPN, the network is expected to get “aggressive” in the pursuit of PAC-12 and Big 12 media rights if the Big Ten ices it out.
Imagine thinking it’s a good idea to dump money into the PAC-12 given the fact nobody knows if it will exist in three years. Not smart! Not smart at all!
Even outside of the fact ESPN might be cooked, the B1G’s new media deal is a sign the conference has become untouchable.
If Ourand’s report is accurate, the B1G will have power on three of the four main networks. That’s power!
It’s a great time to be a Big Ten fan, and a bad time to be an executive running ESPN!
UPDATE: ESPN officially pulled out of the Big Ten’s media negotiations.