The Big Ten is about to make some big bucks.
The conference has been hauling in big money for years thanks to lucrative agreements for TV rights to football and men's basketball games, but that number could be about to explode.
The Sports Business Journal's John Ourand and Michael Smith reported Tuesday that Fox is close to signing a deal that could be worth up to $250 million for just half of the Big Ten's media rights package, which is about 25 football games and 50 men's basketball games. The other half, per the report, would still be up for bid, with ESPN, CBS, NBC and Turner expected to be in the mix.
The Big Ten's 10-year deal with ESPN and six-year deal with CBS expire after next spring, freeing up in the neighborhood of 50 football games and 100 basketball games, a package split in half for media-rights purposes.
A report from USA Today's Dan Wolken estimates that each of the 14 Big Ten schools could be receiving more than $30 million a year from these two new TV deals alone. That's $30 million a year before even factoring in the large amount of money produced by games on Big Ten Network. Add that in, and Wolken's estimating $40 million worth of TV money per school, per year.
That's a lot of cash.
And there could be even more cash coming. The agreement with Fox is reported to be a six-year deal, meaning all this would happen again just six years down the road. As Wolken points out, ESPN's agreement with the SEC — the network co-runs the SEC Network in addition to showing other games on its other channels — is 20 years long. The SEC handed out a huge payday bigger than $30 million per school last season through its deal with ESPN, but it won't be able to negotiate new contracts like the massive ones the Big Ten is negotiating for a long time.
Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.
Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football.
"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.
"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.
"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline."
Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."
"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.
"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."
Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.
Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.
As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.
Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.
The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.