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#pounditThursday, September 29, 2022

Report: Big Ten could leave ESPN

Kevin Warren smiling

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren during the Michigan Wolverines game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has had a longtime presence on ESPN, but that could be coming to an end soon.

The Big Ten’s media rights deal is ending after 2022-2023. The conference is currently in negotiations with various networks who are trying to acquire their media rights.

While FOX has already reached an agreement to pick up the Big Ten’s “A” package for college football games, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand says CBS and NBC are favored to pick up the remaining Big Ten football games.

Here is what the schedule would look like for nationally-televised Big Ten college football games on Saturdays:
12:30 pm ET – FOX
3:30 pm ET – CBS
8:00 pm ET – NBC

NBC would also stream some games on Peacock according to the report. FOX and Big Ten Network would televise many other games as they currently do.

Not having ESPN televise Big Ten football games would represent a major change. ABC has televised Big Ten games since 1966, and ESPN has had their games since 1982.

CBS is looking to pick up the Big Ten games because they are losing the SEC package to ESPN in 2024. NBC has interest in adding the Big Ten in primetime so it can have a Saturday Night Football college football package to mirror its Sunday Night Football package of premier NFL games.

NBC landing a Saturday night package for premier Big Ten football games would also coincide nicely with Notre Dame joining the conference.

Additionally, if ESPN loses the Big Ten, that would signal good news for the Big 12 and Pac-12. ESPN would have a need to fill its programming, which could provide a lifeboat for those conferences.

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