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CBS Will Pay the Big Ten $350 Million a Year to Replace Its SEC Football Package

New York Post — The Big Ten is on the cusp of television deals that are expected to pay it in excess of $1 billion and create a college football triple-header featuring Fox, CBS and NBC, The Post has confirmed.

If the agreement goes through, ESPN will be out of the business of Big Ten football and basketball for the first time in 40 years. The deals with all three networks are not finalized. The Sports Business Journal media writer John Ourand, who is also a podcast host, first reported the news.

The Saturday format would likely be Fox with the noon kickoff followed by CBS in the late afternoon and NBC in prime time. Sources told The Post that CBS is expected to pay in the neighborhood of $350 million per year for the 3:30 p.m. game.

The Big Ten is finalizing its new television rights deals with several networks and a few things stick out. Most notably, ESPN seems unlikely to carry Big Ten football or basketball games for the first time in four decades and CBS is set to pay the conference $350 million per year for the rights to its No. 2 game every week, replacing its current SEC 3:30 games that are going to ESPN in 2024.

If that $350 million price tag doesn't sound big enough already, that's up from the just $55 million a year CBS currently pays for the SEC games it airs — not only the greatest deal in the history of sports broadcasting, but possibly since the Louisiana Purchase. The rest of the Big Ten's deals with Fox and NBC are expected to take the total price tag well over $1 billion a year, with the league aiming to reach $1.5 billion.

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This is what conference expansion was all about. The Big Ten went from getting $300 million a year from ESPN for its best game to $350 million a year from CBS for its No. 2 game because that No. 2 game could now be Michigan at USC. It does beg the question why CBS chose not to pay the SEC the $300 million it got from ESPN to just keep the great package it already had, but it has at least found a suitable replacement — albeit slightly worse games for more money, but whatever.

I'm just not ready to hear the CBS college football music accompanying an open to a Big Ten game.

The main point here, however, is there is no better business to be in right now than that of live sports television rights. The price only goes up.