The Big East has been out on the open market for the past several months with the hopes of landing a new television deal. Earlier this month, it was reported that NBC Sports Network had offered the conference upwards of $23 million annually to obtain those TV rights.
To put that into context, the Big East turned down an offer less than two years ago worth $1.17 billion — or, about $130 million annually — from ESPN.
Since ESPN is currently the conference’s primary rights holder, it had one week to match NBC’s offer. It’s done so, and both the Big East and ESPN confirmed Saturday the two sides are moving toward a deal worth $130 million over seven years through 2019-20 school year. The conference’s presidents are expected to vote, and approve, the deal as soon as Monday.
The deal will include six years of coverage for football (2014-20) — the Big East’s current deal with ESPN for football ends after the 2013 season — and the total media rights value for a 12-team league will be about $22 million — roughly $1.8 million per school annually.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse are leaving the Big East this year for the ACC with Rutgers departing for the Big Ten next year. Slated to join the Big East in 2013 are Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF. Tulane and East Carolina are expected to join the Big East in 2014, with Navy joining as a football-only member in 2015.