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ESPN Done Negotiating With Big Ten

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 12: The Big Ten Conference Logo out side of Bankers Life Field House with no fans around after the Big Ten Conference cancelled the mens Big Ten Tournament due to concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19), on March 12, 2020 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

ESPN has withdrew from its negotiations  with the Big Ten, and a partnership that started in 1982 will soon be no more.

Less than 24 hours after first reporting that the Big Ten was likely parting ways with ESPN and beginning a run with CBS and NBC, the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported that ESPN’s negotiations with the conference have come to an end.

The Big Ten wanted a 7-year, $380 million deal, but ESPN felt it was worth more than that, and nothing worked out.

This also means that ABC, which falls under the ESPN umbrella, won’t be broadcasting Big Ten games for the first time since 1966.

Enter, CBS and NBC.

When the Big Ten’s current media rights deal expires in 2023, the plan is for those two big time stations to replace ESPN/ABC as the Big Ten’s secondary stations after Fox.
The idea for the three stations to put on a college football triple header, with noon games on Fox, 3:30 games on CBS and night games on NBC.

CBS is expected to pay around $350 million annually, the the media deals are expected to exceed $1 billion.

The Big Ten released a statement, starting by saying that its “working with world-class partners to complete multifaceted media rights agreements.”

The overall constructs of the new rights agreements have not been finalized,” the statement reads. “The conference continues to have productive meetings with both linear and direct to consumer media partners. We are committed to delivering unparalleled resources and exposure opportunities for Big Ten Conference  member institutions, athletic programs, student-athletes, coaches and fans. We are very thankful to the media companies who recognize the value of Big Ten programming and want to deliver it to our fans around the world in a forward-thinking manner.”

A formal announcement is expected to come either this week or next.

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