The lead follow-up report indicated that the Big Ten were about to add Oregon and Washington next, as well as football rivals Cal and Stanford.
Now the Big Ten appears content to be pressured into stopping the expansion for now, as their interest in these schools has been “too late,” according to CBS Sports.
After the concern caused last week regarding the expansion of the Big Ten, industry sources indicated that the Big Ten is no longer interested in adding California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington. The rights holders were reluctant to pay those schools the same amount as the 16 Big Ten schools going forward ($80M – $100M).
Instead, Big Ten is taking its current holdings into the next media rights contract negotiations in 2023.
The conference added USC and UCLA at just the right time, as the inclusion of these two major brands expanded media coverage of the Big Ten in the vibrant Los Angeles market.
It will help increase the value of the league’s next television contract. Analysts expect the Big Ten to earn up to $1 billion annually on its next deal.
But just because the Big Ten doesn’t want to add more Pac-12 schools doesn’t mean it’s still not very well chased for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame factor
Big Ten officials have been open about their desire to add the Fighting Irish, who want to preserve their independence in football, but could be persuaded to change their mind if the situation (and price) is right.
Notre Dame has been independent in football from the start, going back 135 years (except for the Covid season in 2020, when I played for the ACC), and has managed to stay that way thanks to its deal with NBC and NBC. Continuing access to College Football Playoff.
But if any of those things change, the school could consider joining a conference, with the Big Ten being the most likely destination.
For now, Notre Dame is hoping to secure a new deal from NBC in the range of $75 million a year, according to reports, and the school’s ability to secure that kind of money could determine whether or not it remains independent.
In contrast, NBC is looking for another college football ownership to broadcast on its network in order to be able to withstand the demands of Notre Dame.
If she decides to join, the Big Ten will insist on bringing Notre Dame for its other sports, most of which are currently members of the ACC.
But running away from that conference means paying a hefty exit fee thanks to a league rights deal that doesn’t expire until 2036.
All of which indicates that Notre Dame has nearly every incentive to remain independent.
But that doesn’t mean the Big Ten won’t be watching every step of the way, just in case.
(h/t CBS Sports)
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