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Big Ten Expected to Let ESPN TV Deal Expire, Let Other Networks Bid

CBS is still looking for a suitor to fill its college football vacancy in 2024. And NBC would like to market doubleheaders with Notre Dame football and a Big Ten matchup.

Jordan Bondurant

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Expect the Big Ten conference to test the open market and have a new TV deal in place by the time the football season kicks off in August, according to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.

ESPN is currently in an exclusive negotiating window with the Big Ten to renew its deal, and it’s entirely possible the two entities remain partnered. Of course, CBS (which is losing the SEC after 2023) and NBC are going to be chomping at the bit for the portion of the football schedule that Fox doesn’t own.

Fox, which also owns half of the Big Ten Network, is also expressing interest in a bigger deal with the conference, Ourand reported. Its Big Noon Saturday window was the most watched in college football during the 2021 season.

Meanwhile, CBS is still looking for a suitor to fill its college football vacancy coming up in 2024 after the SEC exits. And NBC would like to market doubleheaders comprised of Notre Dame football and a key Big Ten showdown.

The rights for football and men’s basketball will go for much higher than the $440 million that Fox and ESPN currently pay.

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ESPN Will Honor Vin Scully By Airing Iconic 1988 World Series Game 1 Tonight

ESPN will air an encore presentation of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series as a tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scull

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Vin Scully

ESPN will air an encore presentation of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series as a tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully. The network will air the game tonight, August 3 at 8pm ET on ESPN2.

The 1988 World Series was between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics. Scully was on the call for the classic game which is notable for an injured Kirk Gibson coming off the bench and hitting a walk-off home run.

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Matthew Berry Joins NBC Sports

Berry is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show.

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Matthew Berry

Matthew Berry, the fantasy football expert that helped to elevate the niche to mainstay programming surrounding the football season, is joining NBC Sports.

Berry, who left ESPN less than a month ago, is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show, sources told The New York Post. The show might go against Fantasy Football Now, his previous show that airs on ESPN2.

The show is also expected to be on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, as well as possibly on some NBC affiliates. Berry could also make appearances on Sunday Night Football.

NBC Sports declined comment.

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NBC Pushing for Big Ten/NFL Primetime Pairing in Media Rights Deal

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

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Big Ten media rights negotiations are getting closer to being completed. The results could mean a minimum of $1.25 billion annual distribution for the conference’s soon-to-be sixteen members. One of the bidders in the process, NBC, has an interesting idea to make the Big Ten the “NFL of college football conferences.”

NBC has reportedly pushed the idea of combining Big Ten broadcasts with its existing Notre Dame coverage and would feature the Big Ten in its primetime window. With CBS, ESPN/ABC also bidding on coverage packages, such a series of deals would make the Big Ten the only college football conference that would be seen across all of the American broadcast networks. Something only few entities have done, like the NFL.

NBC is also pushing the allure of having primetime Big Ten football on Saturday night and primetime coverage of Sunday’s only NFL evening game with Sunday Night Football.

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

The Big Ten’s current media rights deals expire after the 2023 season.

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