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Big Ten Rights Expected To Attract Bidding War

Ourand also said that he believes that FOX, ESPN, and CBS will be “very aggressive” in their negotiations for the Big Ten rights.

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Michigan and Ohio State put up some of the highest numbers of any college football game this season. 15.893 million viewers tuned in for the high-stakes game.

Ohio State has always been a ratings powerhouse for the conference, but the emergence of Michigan as one of the top teams in the country has made the Big Ten a hot commodity to watch this season.

The Big Ten agreed on a TV rights deal with both ESPN and FOX in 2017 that split coverage between the two networks. The deal is set to expire at the end of next season, leaving the Big Ten with plenty of possibilities for a massive bidding war moving forward.

Fox has been given priority picks in most weeks, as they pay $240 million annually while ESPN pays $190 million.

Fox has used the deal to build out Big Noon Kickoff, which has become a key part of their college football coverage. The deal has also helped turn the noon window on Saturdays into valuable TV advertising real estate. That is good for the sport and the industry, considering that is where networks used to put third-tier games.

Andrew Marchand and John Ourand recently discussed how the Big Ten could be lined up for a huge payday on their sports media and business podcast.

“The Big Ten is coming into this media rights negotiation with such a position of strength. They have big brands and they have big ratings. They still have another two years, I believe, that’s left on [their current deal] but I expect them to start negotiations coming this year.” said John Ourand.

Ourand also said that he believes that FOX, ESPN, and CBS will be “very aggressive” in their negotiations for the Big Ten rights, which will undoubtedly raise the asking price for the conference.

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After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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