The New Media Rights Agreement and Women's Basketball

Ignatius L Hoops

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Here's what we can glean about women's basketball in a post-espn world: (thus far the biggest change is putting 30 games on Peacock)

BTN will maintain its strong position as the home for Big Ten fans, as the network will continue to televise a full slate of football, basketball and Olympic sport competition throughout the entire year.
[...]

CBS’s initial season in 2023 will include seven football games and both regular season and postseason men’s basketball action, along with the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament final appearing on CBS for the first time.
[...]
Peacock, NBCUniversal's direct-to-consumer streaming service will deliver exclusive Big Ten football and basketball games each season, as eight regular-season football games will appear on the platform along with as many as 47 regular-season men’s basketball games (32 conference and 15 non-conference) and 30 regular-season women’s basketball games (20 conference and 10 non-conference).
[...[
FOX has renewed its agreement to televise football and men’s basketball games each season, with the opportunity to carry additional sports throughout the year.
 
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Big Ten Strikes $7.5 Billion Deal for TV Rights​

The conference’s partnership with Fox, CBS and NBC represents an NFL-style approach to spreading its content across multiple platforms


The Big Ten on Thursday struck a massive new seven-year contract with Fox, CBS and NBC that people familiar with the matter said is worth up to approximately $7.5 billion, catapulting the conference to the front of a cash-driven race for domination among a dwindling number of top college conferences.

The Big Ten’s contract is the richest ever for a college athletic conference and the latest landmark in an era in which the surging value of college football’s broadcast rights have redefined and reshaped the sport. Whereas a group of five top athletic conferences recently ruled college football’s airwaves, that number has narrowed to two: the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference.

The Big Ten has separated itself from other leagues in part by expanding the geographic reach of the conference to add one of the nation’s top media markets. Less than two months ago, the Big Ten announced it had landed Southern California and UCLA as future members, shocking the sports world by expanding the Midwest-based conference to the West Coast and driving up the bidding to telecast Big Ten games.

The SEC did something similar last year, announcing it was adding football behemoths Texas and Oklahoma by 2025. In 2024, when the SEC’s new deal with Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN takes effect, the conference will generate more than $800 million annually in media rights, according to a person familiar with the matter. That number stands to increase again after the new teams join.

The Big Ten and SEC each will have 16 member schools once their current expansion plans take effect. The conferences’ growing size and star power—with most of the most-watched football teams among them—are further separating them from their competitors....

The Big Ten deal comes two years after Kevin Warren, a longtime former executive with the Minnesota Vikings, took over as commissioner, and it reflects a more NFL-like approach by spreading Big Ten football and basketball games among several media partners instead of one or two: three major networks and NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock, plus the Big Ten Network. It’s a contrast to the SEC’s new deal, which will put all of its premium football games on Disney-owned properties and relies heavily on cable through ESPN’s channels....

Fox once again will broadcast premium games during the noon window. The network averaged 5.7 million viewers across 14 games in 2021, 10 of which included Big Ten teams. Including the midday slot, Fox and FS1 will air between 24 and 27 Big Ten games in 2023 and increase their allotment to up to 32 conference games in 2024....

...NBC will carry the nightcap in prime time and plans to style the broadcast, dubbed “Big Ten Saturday Night,” after its wildly popular Sunday Night Football telecast for the NFL....


CBS will also air men’s and women’s basketball, continuing to show the men’s Big Ten Tournament semifinals and final and adding the women’s Big Ten Tournament final for the first time. All games will be simultaneously streamed on Paramount+....




 

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How The Big Ten’s Blockbuster Media Deal Impacts Basketball​

  • Streaming will play a bigger role in both men’s and women’s coverage.
  • The absence of ESPN poses some questions.

On Thursday, the Big Ten announced the largest media rights package in the history of college sports — a deal in the mid-$7 billion range that spans across Fox, CBS, NBC, and Peacock.

The conference laid out a clear plan for what the deal means for Big Ten football — namely, that marquee Saturday games will be spread across cable and streaming networks to “dominate” the landscape.

But what will the future of Big Ten hoops look like?

The Breakdown​

Of all the networks, Fox has the top package of Big Ten sports — and that won’t change in the upcoming deal. The network has renewed its existing men’s basketball coverage, and the Big Ten Network, owned by FOX, will carry a significant number of men’s and women’s games.

NBC and CBS will also have a new role in elevating Big Ten basketball.

As it has in the past, CBS will air regular-season and postseason men’s basketball, including the Big Ten men’s semifinals and championship. But the network will air the Big Ten women’s title game for the first time, bringing women’s hoops to new heights.

Following a sports industry trend, streaming will play a major role. All basketball games on CBS, for example, will be simul-streamed on Paramount+, while Peacock will air 47 regular-season men’s games and 30 regular-season women’s games.

ESPN is conspicuously missing from this list, without any Big Ten sports rights for the first time in four decades.

The most immediately affected property could be the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The fate of the non-conference basketball matchup is still unclear, a source told Front Office Sports.

Women’s Hoops Visibility​

School and Big Ten officials believe the new media deal will increase women’s basketball visibility.


“The impact of this contract will be monumental in our recruiting efforts, reaching new fans and continuing to provide viewership to grow our game,” Illinois women’s basketball coach Shauna Green said in a statement. “This is a game changer for the Big Ten.”

Green specifically pointed to the women’s championship, which will be elevated to a primary channel rather than be broadcast on ESPN2.

But the current marquee home for women’s college basketball is on ESPN networks — which holds the rights to the increasingly valuable Division I women’s basketball tournament (and which ESPN will attempt to retain in its next round of negotiations).

ESPN’s programming could provide less coverage of Big Ten women’s hoops in general — a common consequence with broadcasting rights. The Big East, for example, has gotten less visibility on ESPN after severing its relationship with the broadcaster.

The men’s teams don’t have this issue, as many of their matchups will appear on the same network as the Division I men’s basketball tournament.

The question is whether the Big Ten’s streaming capabilities, potentially elevated windows on Fox, and championship game on CBS will be enough to bridge that gap.


 

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....

Basketball viewing impacted

Losing ESPN as a broadcast partner may not have a big impact for football viewership since so many games will be on national television, but it creates questions for how fans will watch Gophers men's and women's basketball.

The Gophers men had six games and the women had one on ESPN networks last season. The biggest change is that Peacock — the NBC streaming service — will stream as many as 47 men's basketball games (32 conference games) and 30 women's games (20 conference) per season.

The Big Ten Network will still be a primary broadcast partner for the sport, while CBS will air 11 regular-season men's games in 2023 and 15 per season starting in 2024. That network will continue to broadcast the Big Ten tournament semifinals and championship. Fox and FS1 will air at minimum 45 regular-season men's games per year.

 

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What is Peacock TV? I'm not real familiar with it. The subscription levels appear to be:

1. FREE. Instantly watch thousands of hours of movies and TV shows—plus daily news, sports talk, and highlights—for free.

2. $4.99 a month Peacock Premium. Unlock everything Peacock has to offer—every movie, every episode, every season, all of our live sports and more.

3. $9.99 a month Peacock Premium Plus. Everything in Premium, without the ads*.

Apparently it costs $4.99 a month to stream sports.

I then wonder how this intersects with the Big Ten Network, Big Ten Plus, etc.

 


Ignatius L Hoops

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What is Peacock TV? I'm not real familiar with it. The subscription levels appear to be:

1. FREE. Instantly watch thousands of hours of movies and TV shows—plus daily news, sports talk, and highlights—for free.

2. $4.99 a month Peacock Premium. Unlock everything Peacock has to offer—every movie, every episode, every season, all of our live sports and more.

3. $9.99 a month Peacock Premium Plus. Everything in Premium, without the ads*.

Apparently it costs $4.99 a month to stream sports.

I then wonder how this intersects with the Big Ten Network, Big Ten Plus, etc.

It's NBC's streaming service. It, for now anyway, comes with Xfinity service.
 

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ESPN To Focus on NCAA Championships After Forgoing Big Ten Rights​

  • ESPN is now iced out of Big Ten football and basketball.
  • The network plans to prioritize upcoming negotiations for NCAA championships, per a source.

"....It is now officially out of Big Ten football and basketball rights for the first time in four decades...

The worldwide leader in sports is now eyeing the upcoming negotiations for renewing NCAA championships rights, sources confirmed to FOS.

ESPN remains committed to broadcasting women’s college sports and the network can provide a platform that other networks either can’t or are not interested in providing, a source said.

  • Currently, ESPN pays about $34 million a year for 29 Division I championships.
  • But a gender equity report found that in 2025, women’s March Madness alone could be worth $81-112 million each year — and that was before ratings jumped even higher this past year.
  • One expert previously estimated to FOS they could be worth even more.
The NCAA said in a progress report that it’s already considering selling those rights as a standalone product, suggesting its gearing up to command major rights fees.

When that deal expires in 2024, ESPN will likely have to shell out much more cash to keep properties like women’s basketball that have grown exponentially. And given the network’s recent investment in elevating coverage in those areas, it is interested in continuing to help them grow....


 

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The NCAA has adequately addressed nine of 23 recommendations for creating comparable NCAA tournament experiences for men's and women's basketball players, according to a progress report released Wednesday....

Among the most visible changes noted in the progress report were "March Madness" branding and increased cross-promotion for both tournaments in 2022, as well as the addition of four teams to the women's tournament to create a "First Four" event to bring it in line with the men's tournament structure....

The progress report also pointed out the NCAA increased the 2022 women's tournament expenses budget by $6.1 million and that an additional $1 million would be added....

In the future, the NCAA is looking to pursue standalone rights for the women's tournament once existing media and marketing contracts expire in 2024, the report said, as well as hiring a senior vice president for revenue focusing on both tournaments and creating a women's tournament revenue distribution plan that's more in line with that of the men's tournament.

NCAA revenues surpassed $1 billion in the year before the pandemic and almost $900 million of that was tied to the media rights deal with CBS and Turner for the men's tournament.

The women's tournament is part of a package with more than two dozen other NCAA championships that ESPN owns and pays about $34 million per year for through 2023-24. But according to an assessment done for Kaplan by a team of sports media and marketing experts, the women's tournament will be worth between $81 million and $112 million annually beginning in 2025.



 

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"....However, not everyone is liking the move, especially fans of college basketball who will now need a Peacock subscription to watch certain games.

This will also effect other winter sports such as women’s basketball, hockey, and wrestling on BTN as well, as the channel takes on more men’s basketball coverage. This new contract with the 3 major networks is reported to be worth north of $8 billion.

College basketball fans let people know what they think about the new media rights deal on social media. The change to Peacock isn’t sitting well with most people apparently. It looks like you can’t make everyone happy. Some fans may need to compromise in the near future if they want to watch their favorite teams...."

 



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"....However, not everyone is liking the move, especially fans of college basketball who will now need a Peacock subscription to watch certain games.

This will also effect other winter sports such as women’s basketball, hockey, and wrestling on BTN as well, as the channel takes on more men’s basketball coverage. This new contract with the 3 major networks is reported to be worth north of $8 billion.

College basketball fans let people know what they think about the new media rights deal on social media. The change to Peacock isn’t sitting well with most people apparently. It looks like you can’t make everyone happy. Some fans may need to compromise in the near future if they want to watch their favorite teams...."

Big Ten needs to be part of a negotiation for package deals with its multiple platforms. I’m anti peacock too but would look at a package deal with BTN + and Fox. From what I’ve seen, streaming services are not a good buy for me since most of them have one or two interesting things but much more. YouTube at least has a decent variety. Hard to believe Paramount doesn’t come into the picture with CBS connection.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Big Ten needs to be part of a negotiation for package deals with its multiple platforms. I’m anti peacock too but would look at a package deal with BTN + and Fox. From what I’ve seen, streaming services are not a good buy for me since most of them have one or two interesting things but much more. YouTube at least has a decent variety. Hard to believe Paramount doesn’t come into the picture with CBS connection.

I'd appreciate a package deal too; although the Fox Sports App is the only one I don't bother getting. It annoyed me last year when live TV games on BTN, FOX and FS1 were only streamable on the Fox Sports App instead of BTN+. A minor deal; but sometimes I prefer to pop the game on the laptop.
 




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