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Report: B1G media payouts to triple

Big Ten to sign $2.64 billion media-rights package with ESPN, Fox, CBS

SportsBusiness Journal reports the Big Ten will sign a six-year, $2.64 billion media deal that "will see its average rights payout nearly triple when it takes effect next fall."

As part of the deal, ESPN will pay $190 million annually, Fox Sports will pay $240 million per year and CBS will pay $10 million per year (for basketball only).

Big Ten member schools received $21.5 million in media payouts in 2015.

Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said in March that the prospect of an increased media-rights deal was a big factor in Illinois giving Lovie Smith a school-record six-year contract that could pay the new football coach up to $29 million.

Last month, Whitman told IlliniInquirer.com that he was "optimistic" about the Big Ten's impending deal.

"I think it will be a lucrative relationship for us, probably more so than it has been even -- which is encouraging," Whitman said. "We're counting on that in some sense in the way that we've budgeted in future years."

The deal is a positive development for big-time college athletics. Some thought the media-rights market could hit a wall with more and more cable subscribers cutting the cord.

"The cord-cutting phenomenon is important, and it will have long-term ramifications on our business," Whitman said. "So I think one of the challenges in front of us is to continue to evolve the same way that people consume information has evolved. Figuring out ways to monetize that to sustain our business model will be important. The days of the old bundle where 100 percent of the people are paying for what two percent of the people watch is ultimately going to probably disappear. We need to be prepared to deal with that as it happens."


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