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Kevin Warren Expects Big Ten to Announce New Media Deal "Soon"

The league is on the verge of locking in a massive new deal, especially with the addition of the Los Angeles media market.

Kevin Warren addressed the media on Tuesday morning on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. He touched on a number of topics, including the Big Ten Media Rights deal.

The league is uniquely positioned with schools in the three largest media markets in the country (New York, Chicago, and now Los Angeles with the addition of USC and UCLA). In fact, the announcement of the addition of the two west coast schools comes at a unique time because the league is right in the middle of negotiations. Grabbing the LA market certainly adds to the league's portfolio.

The conference was already looking at an increase in media rights revenue, but that certainly stands to increase further with USC and UCLA coming into the fold. All indications are that the league will announce a deal north of $1 billion.

Fox and ESPN currently hold the national rights to broadcast Big Ten games, paying a combined $430 million a year. That contract ends after the 2023 season.

Warren said the league is "finalizing" it's next deal and looks forward to announcing something "sooner than later."

When asked about the financial impact of the deal, Warren said, "I'm very conscientious not to focus on the money, although we will be blessed financially."

FOX Sports has been the league's primary media partner for college football since 2017. FOX also owns a 61 percent stake in the Big Ten Network, which is as strong as any conference network across the nation.

Under the current media agreement, FOX Sports televises 27 Big Ten football games each year.

So far, traditional media companies FOX, CBS, ESPN and NBC have taken meetings with the Big Ten. 

The SEC has a new deal in place with ESPN, which means CBS is now in the market for top-level college football games. NBC carries the rights to Notre Dame football through 2025, but they have space for adding Big Ten football if the conference so desires. ESPN carries more college football broadcasts than any other network and they will broadcast 35 of the 43 Bowl Games this season.

There are also several digital companies that have met with the league, including Amazon and Apple.

For what it's worth, Warren is heavily in favor of College Football Playoff expansion and said Tuesday he would like to see the media rights in that package diversified. I don't think it's a quantum leap to consider that he might feel similarly about getting Big Ten football in front of as many eyeballs as possible.


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