Catholic 7 discusses TV deal

Updated: January 12, 2013, 10:17 AM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Representatives from the Catholic 7 held discussions in New York on Wednesday that included potential future commissioners of the league as well as its television deal, sources said.

At the meeting, Fox officials reaffirmed a $500 million rights fee offer that would be predicated on a 12-year deal with the Big East Catholic schools (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, Villanova) adding five additional teams to a newly formed league.

Assuming the Fox bid wins out, it would keep the bulk of the games to air on Fox Sports 1, which will replace the Speed Channel in August. Sources say Fox's plan would be to sub-license the rights to games it was not broadcasting to other interested parties.

The Big East's current basketball media rights deal with ESPN and CBS expires after the 2012-13 academic year. The Big East's current six-year media rights deal is worth $3.12 million annually for each of the eight full members and $1.5 million annually for each of the eight non-football members. The eight football members split $13 million; the 16 basketball members split $24 million.

Due to what would likely be a lower fees split with the new teams in the conference, sources say the Catholic 7 could more than double their annual money on TV revenue compared to what they were pulling in with the Big East.

Although the teams can leave the Big East without any exit fees at the end of June 2015, they hope to leave much sooner. With the TV deal up and Fox looking for content right away, it would make sense to try to get out at the end of this season, if that could be negotiated.

The names of potential commissioner candidates discussed weren't immediately available.

The league has hired TV consultant Neal Pilson and the law firm of Proskauer Rose to move things along.

Information from ESPN's Brett McMurphy was used in this report.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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