It’s well known the problems the Big East conference faces these days. They are about to lose two longtime members in Pittsburgh and Syracuse, they have no conference commissioner, and are generally perceived to be the weakest of the “power” conferences. Bottom line, the Big East conference has one foot in the grave.
Or does it?
If the recent reports are true, the Big East may be on a track to recovery. According to a report by Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News, there could be a light at the end of tunnel.
ESPN has an exclusive 60-day negotiating window with the league, starting Sept. 1. If no deal is reached by Nov. 1, the league make itself available to other bidders. In May 2011 the Big East turned down a deal with ESPN that reportedly would have paid between $11 and $13 million a team. The current deal is worth $4 million to each of the football schools.
Sources suggest that if NBC, which is desperate for sports inventory, signs a TV contract with the conference, it would be willing to pay the Big East football teams $10 million apiece and throw in an additional $4 million for the 16 basketball schools. One of the network’s ideas may be to run a full day of Big East football, along with Notre Dame home games, from noon to midnight Saturdays on either NBC or its still-growing cable channel.
If true, this would be extremely significant for the Big East conference. It doesn’t permanently save them, but it gives them a competitive television contract with the ACC, and get more exposure for the league’s football. While partnered with ESPN/ABC, the league would get a random Big East game of the week on ABC, followed by a bunch of games on ESPN3, unless they were playing a team from another power conference.
If this deal with NBC were to happen, the Big East could finally use their affiliation with Notre Dame to their advantage and put a Big East game before or after the Notre Dame game, or both. In addition, the league would be able to use the NBC Sports Network to have an all-Big East football day on that channel. Even though the NBS Sports Network is not ESPN or ESPN2, it’s still a better option than being relegated to ESPN3 or regional games on ABC.
This television deal with NBC does not ensure conference stability in any way, but if that’s the goal, from my perspective, it’s a no-brainer for the Big East.
Filed Under: Football
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