Big East, NBC cable network in talks for TV deal
by Mark Blaudschun, Special for USA TODAY Sports
The Big East and NBC are in serious negotiations to make the embattled conference a primary product provider on NBC’s new cable outlet, with massive cross promotion and marketing on the main NBC network, according to person familiar with the talks. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.
The deal would commence in basketball next season, which would mean the a full complement of 18 teams including all of the schools who have announced they were leaving.
Included in that group would be the Catholic 7 — Seton Hall, Georgetown, DePaul, St. John’s, Providence, Villanova and Marquette — who announced in December they were breaking away to form their own league, which would be devoid of FBS football programs, as well as Louisville and Notre Dame who are moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference and Rutgers which is moving to the Big Ten. All of those moves are expected to start in the fall of 2014.
The Catholic 7 has a 40 million a year television offer from Fox which is being seriously considered but would have to include at least three more schools, with Xavier and Butler the leading candidates to join at least one more member which could come from a group which would include Saint Louis, Dayton, Creighton, Richmond or VCU.
Although the initial money from NBA for the Big East is low — first reported by ESPN to be between 20 and 23 million per season for football and basketball — it would be only six years in length and open to renegotiation, with the hope that early exposure and success would create a bigger market..
The master plan — there has been no official offer made — would be for the Big East, which has been torn apart by the defection of 18 teams in football and basketball over the past few years, to use NBC in a similar way ESPN began in 1979, using the Big East as one of its early anchor items.
Although ESPN, which is the current rights holder for Big East football … [For more on Big East, NBC cable network in talks for TV deal, click here.]