The new TV rights deal reported by Big Ten has major implications for


The Big Ten is nearing the end of negotiations for its media rights deal with FOX, CBS and NBC, Brett McMurphy reported Monday night.

Industry experts expect the Big Ten’s new TV deal to bring in more than $1 billion a year. The league’s current media rights partnership, which is with FOX and ESPN, is worth $440 million a year.

If the Big Ten’s new partners are FOX, CBS and NBC, that would be a big deal in college sports, and not just because it would represent the first time in 40 years that Big Ten football and basketball games are not on ESPN.

Big implications for Notre-Dame

The Big Ten has pursued Notre Dame as an expansion school on and off for the past 30 years. Each time, the Irish have repelled league advances.

Many have speculated, however, that since the Big Ten poached UCLA and, more importantly, Notre Dame’s arch-rival USC of the Pac-12, the calculation for the decision might be different this time around in South Bend. Notre Dame prioritizes a national program that literally allows its program to be presented from coast to coast. The Big Ten can now offer that, with schools from New Jersey to Los Angeles.

Notre Dame also likes to promote its rich history and academic prestige, both of which are important — and abundant — qualities in the Big Ten.

But the biggest obstacle to Notre Dame’s potential membership in the Big Ten, and any conference, for that matter, is planning. The Irish have been independent in football throughout the program’s history, and Notre Dame appreciates the agency that independence gives them to determine their own playing times (thanks to their individual TV deal with NBC).

Joining the Big Ten could put that in jeopardy. Notre Dame could no longer avoid the midday kickoffs, and that does not please the Irish.

But if the Big Ten goes into business with NBC, that would be significant. Suddenly, Notre Dame and the Big Ten share a business partner. At a time when college football’s expansion wars could be won by landing the Fighting Irish, this is a huge development.

The Big Ten could leverage its new relationship with NBC to bring Notre Dame to the table. From there, perhaps the Big Ten could bring Notre Dame on board by grandfathering it and its custom TV deal with NBC in the league, allowing the Irish to keep their playing time under local control.

don’t hope

But again, the Big Ten’s partnership with NBC is exactly what Notre Dame would have sought in its quest to remain independent.

CBS Sports reported in July that Notre Dame, in an effort to ensure its independence remains economically viable, is seeking to increase the payment it receives from NBC for its exclusive football television rights from the $22 million it currently receives $75 million each year:

For NBC to feel comfortable elevating Notre Dame’s valuation to such a high, it seeks “shoulder programming” (in this case, games played before and/or after Notre Dame competitions) from a Power Five conference to improve its coverage of college football.

When such a move had been speculated before, the Big Ten was the conference mentioned most often as a target. However, the Big 12 emerged as a solid option to meet NBC’s shoulder programming needs.

The Big Ten’s new relationship with NBC is precisely the kind of shoulder programming the network would need to up the ante in its contract with Notre Dame, the current version of which expires in 2025.

If that were to happen, viewers in the Big Ten country would have to get used to new start times. Notre Dame plays many games starting at 2:30 p.m. EST, which means scheduling shoulders through Big Ten games would result in kickoff times at 6 p.m.

Either way, the immediate future of Irish combat football is likely to be independent. Notre Dame sporting director Jack Swarbrick has argued that the Irish will stay independent until they simply can’t afford it anymore.

At this point Notre Dame is different from Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA and USC – it is literally box afford to wait.

What could happen in the aftermath of the poaching of the big ten USC and UCLA

USC and UCLA are ditching the Pac-12 for the greener (read: richer) pastures of the Big Ten. This development plunges the already chaotic world of college sports into even greater chaos. Here’s what could happen next.

Candidates for Big Ten expansion

If the Big Ten plans to form its own 16-team mega-conference to compete with the SEC, it will need to add two schools. Here are some candidates, including the attributes that make them attractive to the Big Ten and some things that could make them bad.

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