Here’s the intriguing part about the television talks going on with the Big East, NBC and ESPN. The Big East and NBC are very close to signing a 6-year deal which will make the Big East the prime attraction for NBC’s primary sports cable outlet, NBCSports.
The official offer from NBC came in Friday with all sorts of options and variables. The money is low–between $20 and 23 million a year. But that will be boosted somewhat because the Big East is also talking to other networks, including CBS about buying a secondary package, which could increase the deal by several million dollars.
Now ESPN, according to a report by our buddy Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated.com, has a week to match it.
But the issue is not entirely about the money. ESPN can easily match or better NBC’s financial offer.
The sticking points are the other parts of the deal. Promotion, time slots, prime time exposure on the main network. All have value. All are part of the overall plan that Big East commissioner Mike Aresco and NBC have worked out.
NBC can give Big East football a Thursday night Game of the Week–EVERY week.
Can ESPN do that?
No, it can’t, so it would seem that would be a deal breaker for ESPN.
No, it won’t.
NBC can give Big East football a 3:30 time slot on Saturday on its cable outlet each week and a select number of games on the main network.
ESPN can and will not do that, so that would seem to be a deal breaker as well.
The question is whether ESPN can or even wants to do that. ESPN has more than enough outlets to handle everything the Big East can provide. That’s not the issue. The issue is whether ESPN is willing to give the Big East prime time slots and promotions when it has better, more attractive games which it can promote.
There are lots of ways that NBC can promote the Big East on all of its outlets.
Is ESPN willing to do this?
Then there is the darker side. How much is it worth for ESPN to keep NBCSports from having any kind of competitive programming?
Enough to swallow some things on the Big East?
Maybe. The Big East and NBC want to be with each other. They want to work together. In a very real sense, they need each other.
How much money does the Big East need to get from ESPN before it says, “Deal.’?
If NBC is offering between 20 and 23 million dollars a year, ESPN can easily double that figure and not even blink.
The Big East would then have to think hard about that move, but if it takes it, it gets shuffled back into the pack on programming and promotion.
The clock is ticking. Let’s see what happens.© Copyright 2013 Mark, All rights Reserved. Written For: A Jersey Guy