By Brian Murphy
The Big East’s new television contract could pay members less than $2 million per year, ESPN reported over the weekend. The conference, which Boise State was scheduled to join in July before reversing course and opting to remain in the Mountain West, has a verbal offer from NBC, ESPN reported.
The offer from NBC Sports Network would pay the Big East between $20 million and $23 million per year for six years, ESPN reported. That’s less than the so-called Catholic 7 schools have been offered by Fox, which has reportedly offered between $30 and $40 million per year for the basketball-centric league.
When Boise State decided to join the Big East, the league was hoping for a television contract that would pay each member between $8 million and $10 million annually.
The Mountain West’s current TV payout to members is $800,000.
But the league renegotiated its deal with CBS Sports Network and is in the process of selling additional inventory to multiple networks. Boise State’s home football games must be sold as part of a separate package, and the league will pay a national TV bonus to schools that appear on certain networks.
Boise State football coach Chris Petersen implied during his National Signing Day press conference that the Broncos’ home games are likely to end up on ESPN.
“We’re going to get some of these games on the blue turf that you don’t have to have just a specific cable company or program to have. That you can walk into whatever restaurant and the Broncos are going to be back on that channel,” Petersen said. “I think we’re just going to get back to having a lot more exposure like we’ve had in the past.”
Once all the TV deals are signed — Big East, Mountain West — it will be easier to compare the financial agreements. But it seems clear that Boise State will make similar (or more) money in the Mountain West than it would have in the Big East without splitting its sports.