Big Ten announces six-year deal with ESPN, Fox Sports worth $2.64 billion – Chicago Tribune
News of the agreement broke more than a year ago, but Commissioner Jim Delany delayed the unveiling until Monday.
“We have labored in bringing our agreements to maturity,” he said. “The (game) selection I wouldn’t say is tricky, but it is sensitive. Any change requires you to go back.”
Asked whether Fox would get the first pick each week, Fox executive Larry Jones said no but joked: “That’s a good idea.”
To which ESPN’s Burke Magnus replied: “That will be in Year 7 of the six-year deal.”
Big Ten football now has broadcast partners in ESPN, Fox and Big Ten Network. CBS will continue to have media rights to basketball games.
“Sometimes we can play in the same sandbox,” Jones said. “We can work with ESPN to promote a great conference.”
Jump right in: First-year coach Tom Allen did not stutter: Indiana‘s Aug. 31 home game against Ohio State will be the biggest season opener in program history.
The last time the Hoosiers opened against a conference opponent was 1982 against Northwestern.
“The bottom line is the quality of the opponent has never been greater to open the season at home,” Allen said.
Not only that, Allen will be coaching against Kevin Wilson, the man he replaced. Wilson resigned in December after six years with the Hoosiers and joined the Buckeyes as their offensive coordinator.
“The good Lord has a good sense of humor,” Allen said. “But once the game starts, it’s not about he and I. It’s Indiana versus Ohio State.”
Spreading a message: Days after speaking publicly for the first time about dealing with depression, Iowa offensive lineman Sean Welsh said his story has resonated with many.
“I’ve heard from a lot of other people,” said Walsh, who held a news conference last week in Iowa to deliver a revealing and heartfelt speech.
Welsh said he felt obligated to speak out.
“I really have an opportunity and a platform right now to make a difference,” he said.
Extra points: BTN has hired former Big Ten stars Corey Wootton (Northwestern), James Laurinaitis (Ohio State) and Braylon Edwards (Michigan) to its broadcast lineup. BTN President Mark Silverman said Laurinaitis “had perhaps the best screen test I’ve ever seen.” … Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said the wide receiver job is “wide open” — but maybe not as up for grabs as the right guard spot. At least seven players have a shot to win that job: Matt Burrell, Malcolm Pridgeon, Branden Bowen, Demetrius Knox and true freshmen Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis and Thayer Munford. … Maryland has 42 homegrown players on its roster. Many others come from surrounding states. “In our backyard there’s a strong group of talent every year that … you can win a lot of games, win championships with,” second-year coach DJ Durkin said. “I don’t know if that’s the case everywhere.”
Chicago Tribune’s Terrin Waack and Shannon Ryan contributed.