John F. Silver
ESPN has agreed to match NBC’s offer for the Big East, agreeing to pay more than $20M per year for a six-year package, according to several well-placed sources. The two sides still are trying to work out various details about how many games ESPN will carry and where they will air. Sources said the Big East will have to take ESPN’s offer to conference presidents, who will have to vote to approve the deal. No formal announcement is expected today.
The deal was cheap, 6-years and $20 million for the conference with some exposure promises. The money was so low, ESPN matched it and gets the Big East in its portfolio for a pittance. The NBC deal reportedly had some language about exposure and that has to be rectified. Ourand also reports that ESPN could work out a deal to put a lot of the games on Fox Sports’ fledgling networks instead of having them appear on ESPN cable networks.