NBC to Submit Big East Bid Next Week; FOX Close to “Catholic 7″ Rights


The Big East and the “Catholic 7″ are both reportedly close to new television deals.

NBC is expected to offer the Big East a six-year television contract worth between $20 and $23 million annually, ESPN.com reported Saturday. Incumbent rightsholder ESPN will have the opportunity to match NBC’s bid.

The Big East, which turned down a $130 million/year deal with ESPN in 2011, initially sought an annual rights fee of $300 million.

While the current Big East basketball television deal expires at the end of this season, the football contract lasts one additional year. NBC’s bid allows for the network to air basketball alone next season and then both football and basketball starting in 2014-15.

Previous reports indicated that the Big East was close to a one-year extension with ESPN and CBS for basketball coverage that would have eliminated the one-year difference.

Meanwhile, the new “Catholic 7″ conference — made up of seven Big East basketball schools that plan to leave the conference either this year or next — is reportedly close to a deal with Fox Sports.

ESPN.com cited sources as saying that Fox Sports would acquire “Catholic 7″ TV rights “barring a hiccup” (ESPN.com, 2/9). According to the report, Fox Sports would pay $30-$40 million per season for the rights, or anywhere from $7-$20 million more than what the Big East would get from NBC.

(Saturday’s news from ESPN.com, with additional information from A Jersey Guy via Sports Business Daily)