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Big East TV deal still up for grabs
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 21, 2013 @ 7:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY Sports
Thursday was supposed to be a deadline of sorts for ESPN to match NBC’s bid for Big East TV rights.
But no deal will be made or announced Thursday, a person with knowledge of negotiations told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the bidding is ongoing.
ESPN, the incumbent rights holder, has covered the league since its inception in 1979. Its deal for Big East basketball expires after this season while its deal for football ends after next season. It has the right to match any offers.
Thursday, ESPN indicated it would match the offer of a six-year deal for roughly $20 million annually made by Comcast-owned NBC last week to show the conference’s football and basketball games, another person with knowledge of negotiations told USA TODAY Sports on the same condition of anonymity.
Comcast-NBC would put games on the NBC Sports Network cable channel, on Comcast regional sports networks and possibly the broadcast network.
What happens next is anybody’s guess, and will depend on whether one or both sides decide to raise its bid.
But it’s at least a semi-healthy sign for the Big East, which in 2011 turned down an ESPN offer to pay at least $130 million annually — before the conference lost relatively high-profile schools, including Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Notre Dame to other conferences.
Now, negotiations continue because, as anybody who has ever sold anything knows, you don’t take down your “for sale” sign when there are multiple interested buyers who might bid up the price.… [For more on Big East TV deal still up for grabs, click here.]
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