SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 03: Tyler Eifert #80 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is pursued by Sam Barrington #36 of the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

New Big East TV Deal Could Involve Notre Dame, Rival The ACC's

Could Notre Dame be the key to landing the Big East a television deal that makes the ACC a little nervous?

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New Big East TV Deal Could Revolve Around Notre Dame Football

While estimation-prone types ponder whether the impending Big East television deal will be worth way less than the league once hoped or just a little bit less, the conference itself could be using its unique relationship with Notre Dame as a handy bargaining chip.

The Irish are members in all sports except for football, of course. This means their relatively valuable basketball program boosts the Big East, but Memphis Athletic Director R.C. Johnson describes how NBC is thinking bigger:

"(NBC's) purpose (at the meeting) was to show they had an interest in the Big East and they had it tied in with Notre Dame football," Johnson said. "They talked about doubleheaders and tripleheaders on the NBC station. Not on the Versus or whatever they all have, NBC (Sports Network), because they've got several cable outlets.

"They talked about how they liked the time zones and they talked about tying in doubleheaders and tripleheaders on Saturday with football."

ESPN gets the first crack at the Big East's top games, while NBC will likely emerge as a contender if the conference doesn't sell all its stock to ESPN. With the league's truly national footprint, NBC wouldn't have a hard time creating an entire day's worth of college football programming, from the East Coast to Notre Dame to Boise State.

Of course, there's the question of what happens in 2015, when Notre Dame's NBC contract is up and the Irish could very well join a conference in full (which won't be the Big East).

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Big East TV Deal Could Net Conference Way Less Than Expected

The Big East is nearing a window to renegotiate its television deal, and the conference hopes it will result in a large gain in revenue. However, there's an issue for the conference as the negotiation window inches closer: Realignment has changed the landscape of the conference and college football as a whole. And according to a CBS Sports report, the Big East may take a significant hit as a result.

A year ago, the Big East was offered a deal worth $130 million per year. The conference turned it down. And while some analysts expect a similar deal this time around, CBS Sports' sources aren't so high on the conference's chances of snagging a big deal. In fact, it could be somewhere around half the deal the Big East was offered last year.

A $130 million deal per year (as speculated by Pilson) would be worth $8.66 million each for the 10 full members; $6.5 million each for the four football-only members (Boise State, San Diego State, Navy and TBA); and $2.16 million each for the eight non-football members.

A $60 million deal per year (as speculated by CBSSports.com's sources, slightly better than their low end) would be worth $4 million each for the 10 full members; $3 million each to the four football-only members; and $1 million each to the eight non-football members.

To put these numbers in perspective, consider that Nick Saban will make an average of just about $5.6 million a year over the next eight years. Mack Brown also tops the $5 million a year mark and Bob Stoops is just above $4 million. It's likely that Les Miles will make more than $4 million this coming year, as well.

Sure, these are top-end coaches, but they're also making more than full-member schools of the Big East Conference will, should the next television deal come in around the $60 million a year mark. And with television revenue skyrocketing elsewhere, a low-end deal would put the Big East in an awfully difficult position.

Take the Pac-12, for instance. Its new deal has paid immediate dividends: Multiple schools have been able to move forward with facilities upgrades, while others have hired high-profile coaches in the past few months. Perennial revenue bottom-feeder Washington State was able to hire Mike Leach at a salary of more than $2 million per year, thanks to the new deal that will net schools somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million annually once the Pac-12 Network is up and running.

A poor deal could be crippling for the Big East and, making matters worse, the vultures may also be circling, waiting to pick off schools should realignment kick into high gear again this summer.

For more news and information regarding the Big East, please visit Big East Coast Bias.

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