With uncertainty swirling around future membership and whether or not it will remain a viable football conference, the Big East has reportedly garnered interest from a network with which I’m quite familiar.
According to, ironically enough, ESPN.com, the NBC Sports Network has given a verbal offer to the Big East to acquire that conference’s media rights. Reportedly, the offer from NBC would be for upwards of $23 million annually; less than two years ago, the Big East turned down a TV deal that would’ve paid the conference $130 million annually.
The Big East’s current deal pays football schools a little over $3 million per year. The offer from NBC would pay those schools roughly half that amount.
Per ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy and Andy Katz, “[o]nce the Big East receives an official offer from NBC Sports Network, the league must give ESPN, the Big East’s current rights-holder, the opportunity to match the deal.”
Just what any network that ultimately lands the Big East’s rights will receive in return when it comes to the most valuable commodity, football, is very much a fluid situation.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse are leaving this year for the ACC, Rutgers for the Big Ten next year. Slated to join the Big East in 2013, both Boise State and San Diego State opted to remain in the Mountain West. Current Conference USA members Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF are slated to join the league this year, although there’s speculation that the the two Texas schools could be MWC targets. Tulane and East Carolina are expected to join the Big East in 2014, with Navy joining as a football-only member in 2015.