Big East leaders to vote on ESPN deal

The deal is awaiting ratification from the Big East presidents.

President Neil Theobald and the other Big East presidents are reviewing and will soon vote on a proposed media rights deal with ESPN for basketball and football that would reportedly be worth $130 million and extend until the 2019-20 school year.

The deal would start at $10 million for basketball for the 2013-14 season and $20 million for the 2014-15 football season, according to an ESPN report, but is far less than the deal ESPN offered the Big East two years ago that was turned down by the conference leadership.

In 2011, the Big East presidents rejected a nine-year, $1.17 billion offer from ESPN that would have broken down to $130 million annually. That deal would have been worth $13 million per school in the 10-team conference that will form effective in 2014.

The new deal is reportedly worth a combined $22 million annually and, effective 2014, will be split up into $2.2 million per school for the 10-team league. Schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pacific-12 Conference and Southeastern Conference – the conferences that the Big East was once thought to be aligned with – will reportedly earn around $20 million per school annually in their respective media deals.

There was no word when the Big East presidents will vote and Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw could not be reached before press time.

When the Big East turned down ESPN’s deal in 2011, it was still one of the most competitive conferences in the country. Connecticut was the 2011 men’s basketball national champion and the Big East went 5-2 in bowl games in football in the 2010-11 bowl season.

Since then, the league has had 16 schools leave for another conference or announce their intention for departure.

West Virginia went to the Big 12 Conference in 2012. Syracuse and the University of Pittsburgh will go to the ACC for the 2013 football season. Louisville will join them in 2014, and Rutgers will head to the Big Ten the same year. Boise State and San Diego State, both brought into the Big East to replace departing schools, both announced this season that they’d be rescinding on their decision to join the conference.

Notre Dame and the Catholic 7 basketball schools – DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova – have announced their intention to leave the conference before the 2015 season, according to multiple media reports.

Under the current plan, the Big East would field a 10-team league in 2014 consisting of Temple, Central Florida, Connecticut, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, Southern Methodist University and Tulane.

Joey Cranney can be reached at or on Twitter @joey_cranney.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.