Summary of recent developments in Pac-12 and Big Ten media rights negotiations. Plus: An update on NFL Sunday Ticket rights, ESPN’s Monday Night Football roster and more.
Future of Pac-12 hinges on ESPN deal; Big Ten to get rich
The Pac-12 is in the middle of a 30-day exclusive negotiation window with rights-holding partners ESPN and Fox Sports, but only the former is expected to bid on the rights, according to the reporter. John Canzano. The conference accelerated its rights negotiations earlier this month following the impending departures of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten. Speak San Jose Mercury-News — who broke the news of USC and UCLA’s decision — the Pac-12 could take months to figure out its next steps in the event its rights hit the open market.
Meanwhile, the additions of USC and UCLA could push the Big Ten’s annual rights fee up to 25% over what the conference would have otherwise garnered, Front Office Sports reported this week. By Sports Business Journal, ESPN and NBC are among the companies that have become “more aggressive” in their bids for conference rights following the move, joining CBS and Amazon as realistic bidders. Apple, which reportedly reignited talks with the Big Ten last week, is no longer a competitor.
Potential deal between NBC and the Big Ten could lead to Notre Dame joining the conference, radio host Dan Patrick reported on his self-titled show on Friday.
NFL Sunday Ticket rights would go to Amazon and Apple
Rights fees for NFL Sunday Ticket could hit $3 billion a year, effectively pricing ESPN and leaving Amazon and Apple as sole bidders, the industry website Puck reported Thursday. The league is not expected to entertain by putting Sunday Ticket on its new streaming service. Apple is considered the favorite, according to the report. [Puck 7.13]
ESPN officially names Levy, Riddick, to MNF secondary team
ESPN officially announced this week that Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Dan Orlovsky will train the secondary dissemination team on Monday night football this season. The trio, who will be joined by Laura Rutledge on the sidelines will call ESPN’s two preseason games, Titans-Bills in Week 2, the London Broncos-Jaguars game in Week 8, and an ESPN/ABC doubleheader game in Week 18.
Levy and Riddick were part of ESPN’s primary FMN team for the past two years and before that was part of the secondary team in 2019.
In other FMN news, ESPN should name Robert Griffin III the replacement of Randy Moss on “Monday Night Countdown”, the The New York Post reported this week. [ESPN PR, NYP 7.11]
More: ESPN+ Awards, Erdahl & Dell, Berry, Gottleb
ESPN+’s monthly price increases to $10 per month, a big increase from the current $7/month fee. The annual price will be $100, up from $70 previously. … NFL Network officially announced this week the hiring of a college football reporter from CBS Jamie Erdahl as the new host of “Good Morning Football”. Erdahl will leave CBS for his new role, with Jenny Dell replacing her on SEC games. …ESPN Fantasy Football Host Matthew Berry left the company this week and according to the New York Post should join NBC Sports. …Fox Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb was sued by Casey Closeformer Dodgers 1B agent Freddy Freeman, for defamation. Gottlieb said on social media last month that Close didn’t tell Freeman about a contract offer from his former team the Braves before signing with LA… [CNBC 7.15, network PR, NYP 7.12, ESPN.com 7.14]