Thursday, February 21, 2013
Big East in talks with ESPN
By Brett McMurphy
ESPN and the Big East continued discussions Thursday about whether the network would remain the league's media rights holder.
Thursday marked the end of the one-week deadline ESPN had to match NBC Sports Network's seven-year offer to the Big East worth $20-23 million per year.
ESPN's public relations department released a statement Thursday that "discussions with the Big East are ongoing" and it would have no other comment Thursday. The Big East also acknowledged "ongoing discussions" but had no further comment.
Last week, the Big East received an official offer from NBC Sports Network that would extend the football and men's basketball media rights through the 2019-20 academic year. The amount per year varies based on any future membership changes for the Big East, sources said.
ESPN, the league's current rights holder, has until Thursday to match NBC Sports Network's offer to keep the Big East's media rights. ESPN has had the Big East's basketball media rights since the conference was formed in 1979.
The Big East's basketball media rights deal with ESPN and CBS expires after the 2012-13 academic year, while the football deal with ESPN expires after 2013-14.
Whether the Big East signs with ESPN or NBC Sports Network, CBS apparently will continue its relationship with the Big East, paying the league $2 million to $4 million annually for men's basketball, the Sports Business Journal reported earlier this week.