The Big East is negotiating a new TV rights deal with NBC Sports Network. The potential terms highlight how far the conference has fallen. ESPN is reporting the offer is between $20 million and $23 million per year, for the entire 11 or 12 team conference.
How bad is this? The estimated $2 million payout is less than the current $3.12 million schools receive under the present contract. That’s less than the Catholic 7 basketball schools may get from their new contract. The deal the Big East presidents rejected from ESPN in April 2011 would have payed full members $13.8 million per year. Oops.
It’s not clear whether signing the ESPN agreement would have held the previous iteration of the Big East together. West Virginia might have left for the Big 12 anyway. Rutgers definitely would have left for the Big Ten. That said, it would not have been as much of a “no brainer” for schools such as Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Louisville to jump for safe harbor in the ACC.
We’ll be interested to see what happens with Cincinnati and Connecticut. At that pay grade, does it not make more sense to take the (gulp) bigger payout in the new basketball conference and move the football team to the MAC? Wait for the ACC to get raided? Bet UConn admins are real happy they spent more than a decade building a stable FBS football program.
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