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NBC could turn Big Ten into ‘NFL of college football conferences’ with new media rights deal

NBC wants to tailor Big Ten football like the model of the NFL.

2022 Big Ten Conference Football Media Days Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Imagine tuning into watch Notre Dame in its usual 2:30 PM ET slot on NBC knowing that a matchup between Ohio State and Michigan is on deck primetime. If that’s not enough, add in “Sunday Night Football” just 24 hours later.

That is the scenario that NBC is planning for as media rights negotiations continue for the Big Ten.

The Big Ten media rights are extremely valuable and negotiations are reaching insane levels. According to Michael McCarthy and Amanda Christovich of Front Office Sports, NBC could be ready to go all in on this deal.

For years, Notre Dame has dominated coverage on NBC and that will continue moving forward. If the Big Ten is added, NBC views this as the “perfect one-two punch” alongside the Irish. The ultimate plan would to be to turn the Big Ten into the “NFL of college football conferences.”

Of course, NBC is not alone in this battle. It will be going up against Amazon, ESPN/ABC, and CBS for the rights to air games alongside Fox Sports, which is the conference’s primary TV partner.

The Big Ten is expected to demand $1.25 billion annually from its new bidder. The conference is on pace to nearly triple its current payout of $440 million. The addition of USC and UCLA gives the Big Ten Los Angeles, which is the second-largest TV market in the nation.

The current media rights deals for the Big Ten expire following the 2023 season. Both USC and UCLA are ready to join the conference on Aug. 2, 2024. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren spoke on these negotiations during Big Ten Media Days. While there has been no decision made yet, Warren believes that it could move “pretty quickly.”

“I’m incredibly pleased with where we are,” Warren said. “We have great opportunities. We’re finalizing our deals, and I look forward to standing before you to make an announcement sometime here, sooner than later.”