On Monday, the Sports Business Journal reported that the Big East and ESPN are in talks to extend their media deal. The current media rights deal runs out after the 2013 college football season. Of course, no talk of a Big East TV rights deal would be complete without a comparison to the conference's southern antagonist (emphasis added):
"ESPN currently pays the Big East an average of $36 million annually as part of a six-year contract for all of its sports. While initial numbers being floated may not be as rich as the ESPN/ACC deal that was struck last spring, it would still mark a major boost for the 16-team conference."
Sources indicate the early numbers range from $110 million to $130 million annually, but conference sources describe those figures as a starting point for any negotiation. The initial offer would fall short of the $155 million annual payout the ACC will receive from ESPN in a deal that kicks in this summer. But the bold push by ESPN shows the network wants to lock down college rights in the face of increasing competition."
As with most things Big East these days, the conference is divided on whether to take the money and run or test the open market.
"ESPN's offer has created a division among the conference's schools. Some want to rebuff ESPN's offer and take the conference's media rights to the open market. The reason: The amount of potential bidders in the market has helped other leagues increase their media rights more than they initially expected."
You may remember that during the ACC's TV negotiations, the final number jumped from $120 million to $155 million per year once Fox became a serious bidder.
Voodoo Five estimates that a deal this size would give a football/basketball member anywhere from $7-$9 million per year, though I think the total payout would end up being a bit less after the conference takes a cut (like the ACC does with its 1/13 share of the new TV deal). That figure would still fall short of the ACC's annual payout of $11.9 million, which starts with this upcoming season, giving ACC programs a two year head start on reeling in the new TV media rights cash.
A deal won't be in place for some time, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on.