WASHINGTON — The primary reason that the University of Maryland Athletics walked away from decades of rivalries in the ACC for the Big Ten Conference in 2014 was for greater TV revenue. And now, that decision is really starting to pay dividends.
According to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney, the conference has six-year TV broadcast deals with ESPN, FOX and CBS in addition to the Big Ten Network, which will inject $2.64 billion into the conference.
The Washington Business Journal detailed how the deals will directly impact Terrapins athletics:
Fox Sports will pay an average of $240 million per year over the six years, ESPN will pay $190 million per year and CBS will pay around $10 million per year for its basketball schedule. These media-rights deals will keep the Big Ten payouts among the richest for its schools, who are projected to collect about $51 million each in 2017-2018, up from $36 million in 2016-2017 because of the new TV deals.
Those per-school payouts will increase annually through the end of these six-year deals in 2022-2023, and then the Big Ten will be back at the table for potentially even more revenue before any other power five conference.
That’s a nearly 42 percent increase from last season. The numbers just go to show that Maryland was correct in following the money to a conference with a TV network and the clout to negotiate additional deals.
Perhaps more importantly, the Big Ten Network is moving away from just broadcasting over the airwaves, embracing the digital opportunities.
According to Network President Mark Silverman, coverage will also be carried on digital distributors DirecTV Now, Hulu and YouTube TV, with video content also available on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
“Regardless of how the industry evolves, BTN will be committed to being available to all our viewers across the country,” Silverman said. “If you don’t want to subscribe to cable anymore there are other ways to get the content. The key for us is to make sure that we’re agnostic.”
And for Maryland, the key is that athletics can pay for itself like never before.