The college football landscape underwent another seismic shift when USC and UCLA were approved by an unanimous vote to join the Big Ten in 2024.
As the Big Ten will stretch from New Jersey to California starting that year, the league’s recent additions further reiterate the motive of teams seeking the greatest exposure among college football’s TV contracts. With the SEC and Big Ten seeing large financial increases in their media rights, several schools will seek to enter one of the two conferences, which could result in two conferences of 35 to 40 teams that are separate from all other Division I schools, sources told SI’s Ross Dellenger.
With the Big Ten and SEC only growing, that opens the door to more companies jockeying for TV deals. Since the announcement of USC and UCLA’s move to the Big Ten, a 2011 tweet from former LSU chancellor Michael Martin resurfaced on Twitter. It could not have been more spot on.
“I think we could ultimately end up with two conferences: one called ESPN and one called FOX,” Martin said, per reporter Nathan Fenno.
Well, 11 years later, other companies will be looking to join the TV rights party. Prior to the Big Ten’s move, Fox Sports had secured a deal to carry close to half of the league’s conference games. After the announcement, Apple was reportedly invigorated to engage in media rights discussions with the league, according to Sports Business Journal.
Even more, CBS was in a position to carry some of the Big Ten’s football games. Now, things could change as more competition arises and the Big Ten’s media rights negotiations could extend to August and may not be completed until after Labor Day, per Sports Business Journal.
Welcome to college football in 2022, where mega conferences could be formed and media companies will be fighting to earn a piece of the pie in TV deals.
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