Big East, ESPN close to 7-year TV deal, per report

Stacy Revere

ESPN decided to match NBC Sports' media rights offer to the Big East. The deal will net the conference $20 million annually.

The Big East Conference and ESPN are nearing a 7-year, $130 million TV deal, league sources told ESPN's Brett McMurphy on Thursday. ESPN exercised its right to match any TV deal offered to the conference, and jumped at the opportunity to keep the league's games on its networks instead of losing the rights to NBC Sports.

For more on this story, head over to Big East Coast Bias.

The new media rights contract includes seven seasons of basketball and six years of football. The first year of the deal will be worth $10 million for basketball only, according to McMurphy, while the next six years will net the conference $20 million per season for both sports.

The deal still needs to be approved by the league's presidents, who could come to an agreement by the end of this weekend, per McMurphy.

The Big East will earn about $22 million annually, with the league's deal with CBS figured into the equation, meaning that each school will receive less than $2 million per year. That is less than the league's current deal with ESPN, which expires at the end of the 2012-13 academic year, and about $18 million short of what each institution in the other five major conferences receives annually.

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