If anyone from Oklahoma State, TCU or Texas Tech asks how you like the Big Ten, offer this answer: “The money’s good.”
And getting better all the time.
The SportsBusiness Journal completed the Big Ten TV puzzle on Monday, reporting that the league will re-up with ESPN on a six-year deal worth an average of $190 million per year. That goes with the $240 million a year from Fox Sports that was reported this spring.
When you factor in the league’s basketball-only package with CBS Sports, television contracts will pump $444 million a year for the Big Ten, according to CBS Sports. That’s about $31.7 million per school. And it doesn’t include money from the Big Ten Network, College Football Playoff or bowl games.
Those things reportedly put the number between $40 million and $50 million per school.
That will buy a lot of satellite camps.
Big Ten boss Jim Delany did an artful job pulling money from ESPN when a lot of industry insiders thought the golden goose was drying up. The six-year deal means the Big Ten will be first in line among the conferences for the next round of college football TV negotiations, which by then might include Netflix or Google or the TV set you will wear on your wrist.
But ESPN exposure is as much the story here as the bank.
When the Big Ten agreement with Fox was announced, league observers and coaches alike raised a brow. Putting Big Ten football and hoops on FS1? Big Ten coaches needed a channel guide.
FS1 ratings have been steady for Big East basketball. But this is a station that does not have a nightly highlights show. After Villanova, a Big East team, won the NCAA title, FS1 was showing TMZ Sports.
Don’t look now, but part of that $240 million means Fox is getting some of the better Big Ten games for FS1. Can you say Ohio State-Michigan on FS1? I thought you could.
How about Ohio State-Michigan as a night game? It’s no doubt coming.
The contract with ESPN gives the Big Ten a connection to the mainstream — with easy access for recruits and their families. Those three or four Big Ten football games in the 11 a.m. window on three ESPN channels every Saturday may not be great matchups, but they’re on in most households, sports bars and other places where college football is worshipped.
The fact that the Big Ten is on ESPN and ESPN has “GameDay” can’t hurt, either. Meanwhile, college hoops is a major player on ESPN, and that means so is the Big Ten.
Some Big Ten administrators talked tough about leaving ESPN altogether. But that’s negotiation stuff. SportsBusiness Journal reported that as soon as ESPN found out the Big Ten had signed a big deal with Fox, it speed-dialed Delany.
Good for the Big Ten that he answered. ESPN and Big Ten is a deal that makes cents and sense.
» Replay made its debut at the CWS on Sunday night. It was relatively quick and painless. But only because the USGA wasn’t in charge.
Was that runner out at second? “I’m sorry, we’ll let you know after the game.”
» Tyronn Lue, NBA champion coach. It might be time to give Lue a presence at Pinnacle Bank Arena, other than his NBA jersey hanging on a wall outside the Huskers’ locker room. How about putting Lue’s jersey on the large wall in the arena, next to Eric Piatkowski’s and Dave Hoppen’s? It’s certainly no stretch. Lue was one of NU’s all-time greatest players.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lue come back to be recognized at a Nebraska football game this fall. Maybe he can bring his good friend LeBron. Tell them Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade will be there.
» If we rank the NBA’s greatest based on titles, three doesn’t get LeBron James into the top five. I think he’s top 10. What he just did, carrying that team and that city to an NBA title against the 73-win defending champ Warriors, and winning Game 7 in their arena, should go down as the greatest accomplishment by a player in NBA history.
» Say what you want about Kevin Love, and you have, but if you want to teach kids how to adjust for the greater good, have them watch Love in Game 7. Fourteen rebounds. And that defense on Steph Curry in the final minute. Fantastic.
» I can’t help buying the college football magazines, even though some of the information is outdated (Baylor coach Art Briles) and you can find current team previews on the Internet year-round. It’s not summer without the magazines. Maybe I’ll look at the photos.
» One of my favorite emails last week came from Chris Horning, who brought his father, Bill, to the College World Series.
Does the name Bill Horning ring a bell? It might with some Omahans. Horning was captain of the 1956 national champion Minnesota baseball team. Horning, from Watertown, South Dakota, hit two homers and had five RBIs in the championship game against Arizona.
Some 20 years later, Horning found himself back in Omaha, teaching at Creighton University and also serving as a team host of the CWS.
Chris says the city is special to both father and son, and thought this might be his dad’s last trip here. Hope you both enjoy the week. Stay cool. Tell some great stories. Make some new ones.
» One more and I’m outta here: The NCAA has a heart. I saw it with my own eyes Monday night.
There, down the first-base line at TD Ameritrade Park, the letters “PIV” were etched with chalk into the dirt.
What a tremendous tribute for Steve Pivovar, the World-Herald’s legendary CWS writer who is home this week fighting cancer. Monday night would have been Piv’s 500th straight CWS game, and he was everywhere.
The NCAA also had a video nod to Pivovar, the grounds crew wore orange wristbands — orange for kidney cancer. And the lights shining on the “Road To Omaha” statue outside the park were drenched in orange.
Thanks, NCAA. You continue to be a good caretaker for this event — something a guy named Piv can relate to.
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