I had difficulty wrapping my head around the new Big Ten media deal, and amid a lot of hand-wringing about new subscriptions required, boxes or antennae we’d have to buy, and more, I wanted to try and simplify this for myself as best I could.
[That reads like clickbait, but I’m being serious—I was trying to write a different piece and it confused the hell out of me, so I started to make a table and realized it could be a fine standalone explainer article.]
Here’s what those time slots and stations will look like for football in 2023, in the (abridged) words of the stations themselves [all quoted unless in brackets]:
- Upgraded picks for the network’s top football “Game of the Week” selections [B1G N00D Saturdays get first pick of the slate]
- Ability to air premier football matchups in later windows with the addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten Conference – in addition to the network’s coveted Noon timeslot
- Four of the next seven Big Ten football Championship games set to air on FOX
From Fox Sports Press Pass.
- NBC and Peacock to become the exclusive home of Big Ten Saturday Night football
- Peacock [subscription required] will also serve as the exclusive home for eight additional Big Ten Football games each season.
From NBC Sports.
- CBS, which will be in the final year of its SEC deal in 2023, will air seven Big Ten football games in various windows that season before expanding to a full schedule of 14-15 games annually from 2024-29.
- The Big Ten will have an exclusive :30 p.m. window on CBS from 2024 onward and the ability to air as many as two games on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
- CBS will also air the Big Ten Championship Game in 2024 and 2028.
- All CBS games will be live streamed on Paramount+ [no exclusive games on Paramount+].
From CBS Sports.
Big Ten Network
- BTN will [...] continue to televise a full slate of football, basketball and Olympic sport competition throughout the entire year.
- [Remaining games: from 38-41 in 2023, and up to 50 per season for the duration of the contract]
From Big Ten press release.
Do you have a handy-dandy table?
Sure thing, friend.
That’s...well, that’s pretty damn good, actually. Unfortunately some of the streaming platforms that I use, like FuboTV ($70/mo as of August 2022), gave in and added the ESPN family of networks, but there are other options out there like Sling Blue ($35/mo) that don’t have the ESPN family and, for $11/mo extra, will add BTN. [I don’t get any money from any of those places, I’m just talking through some of this—feel free to share where you stream in the comments if you want to be helpful.]
Some takeaways, as I see them:
- It’s not as bad or dramatic as it might seem, perhaps outside the potential need for a Peacock subscription.
- With a guaranteed three (and maybe four—see the FOX section) games on over-the-air stations each week, we’ll have more access to Big Ten football for cheaper than we would have in the past.
- This comes with a lot more national mainstream TV exposure—save for the inevitable backlash that will be ESPN’s college football programming and narrative-driving basically ignoring the Big Ten.
Let me know what I’m missing or share your thoughts on the actual channel landscape of football. More later.