Kirk Herbstreit shares feelings on ESPN losing Big Ten football
Kirk Herbstreit on Friday shared his feelings about ESPN losing the television rights to the Big Ten.
The Big Ten’s new contract begins in the 2023 football season. For the first time since 1966, ABC or ESPN will not televise their games.
Herbstreit, 53, played quarterback at Ohio State and has a strong family legacy at the school, where his father also played. He and Chris Fowler have formed the No. 1 announcing team for ESPN’s college football games for several years, meaning they have called numerous Big Ten games in primetime.
Speaking with the media on Friday ahead of Saturday’s game between the Buckeyes and Notre Dame on ABC, Herbstreit acknowledged it will be tough not calling Big Ten games.
“I’m sad,” Herbstreit said, via Eleven Warriors. “I love Ohio State, I love the Big Ten, I love coming into these stadiums. It’s a highlight for me any time we can come here, obviously, or go to Penn State or Wisconsin or any of the (Big Ten stadiums).”
ESPN could still air games involving Big Ten teams if they happen to be non-conference ones the network has the rights to, or playoff games. But for the most part, ABC/ESPN will be without the Big Ten through the 2029 season.
Though the development is sad for the ESPN announcer, Herbstreit recognizes the development isn’t permanent.
“Who knows what will happen after that (the new seven-year Big Ten contract)? So I don’t think it’s the end of my opportunities in my career, but for that time period, it will be,” Herbstreit said. “So yeah, I definitely wasn’t celebrating it. But it’s the business like we’re all seeing. Everything’s evolving in this sport. Everything’s changing. I’m trying to keep an open mind to all of it and just do the best I can through it.”
The Big Ten is truly branching out. They are adding Los Angeles schools UCLA and USC. Their broadcast deal also calls for their games to appear on FOX, NBC and CBS.
While ESPN will be able to flex its muscle as the TV home for the SEC, FOX is becoming more of the TV home for the Big Ten, with NBC and CBS also broadcasting games.