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Conference realignment: Amazon interest may affect Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 composition as talks continue

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As CBS Sports has learned, Amazon has become a significant player in college football media rights negotiations and therefore could be a player in the conference’s further reorganization. According to industry sources, the tech giant has been linked to all three conferences, which are set to make conference lineup decisions in the coming months, given its interest in the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12.

The question is the quality of the available content. While Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren remains interested in adding Pac-12 teams, his best games have already been spread elsewhere after the league signed a new media rights deal with CBS, Fox and NBC last month. .

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Amazon has found itself in a situation where it is probably weighing whether to buy the top tier Big 12 and/or Pac-12 games versus the lower Big Ten options. The Big 12 and Pac-12 are already competing to find new media rights deals with Fox and ESPN, which are thought to be the top contenders.

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How many games does Amazon want and at what cost? There is still skepticism in the industry about the viability of major sporting events that are only available through streaming services.

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“Streaming will continue to grow,” one industry source told CBS Sports, “but there’s a reason the NFL is still [largely] on network television.

Another industry source suggested that there will be no Big Ten games for Amazon with the most compelling teams (think Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania) when it expands further. This reality should be considered in comparison to the best Big 12 games like Oklahoma State-Cincinnati and Houston-Texas Tech. Are these games more desirable than the downline Big Ten content?

Under a historic deal last month, the entire package of Big Ten football games – roughly 112 a year – will now air on CBS, Fox and NBC starting in 2023. Games will also air on FS1, Big Ten Network and Peacock. simulcasting CBS games on Paramount+.

However, Amazon’s involvement in college football could change the paradigm. The platform will likely use its Thursday Night Football NFL package to promote college games on Saturdays and vice versa. Warren is known to have previously been interested in bringing a major streamer into this existing Big Ten deal.

If Amazon wants to join the Big Ten, it will require the conference to expand beyond the upcoming USC and UCLA additions. California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington will create more reserves, but at what cost? The Big Ten decision makers and its new rights holders showed little interest in expanding the league beyond 16 teams, as any additional programs would not be of equal value.

Companies like Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Perdue and Rutgers are unlikely to support expansion. These are some of their games that will mostly be featured on Amazon if the conference grows further.

This does not mean that the expansion of the Big Ten is a dead topic. Oregon and Washington reportedly met with Big Ten officials, Stadium reported. Warren only needs to convince his presidents, who are in charge of wallets. He could sell them to the Big Ten of 20 teams, which would position itself as the biggest and best academic company. as well as sports conference ever.

Would Amazon be interested in being part of what?

The tech giant’s streamer arriving in the college media rights space has long been the subject of speculation. In other words, when does it make financial sense for FBS conferences and big streamers to partner up? Apparently not yet. According to The Athletic, Amazon is reportedly offering more for the Big Ten windows at 3:30 p.m. and prime time than other Big Ten fans. If the Big Ten did reject such an offer, it is likely that the problems were related to distribution and visibility.

Industry experts agree that streaming remains “on track” as a platform for college rights. That’s why the Big Ten became popular thanks to broadcast partners CBS, Fox and NBC.

But this future is coming. Amazon’s 11-year deal with the NFL for Thursday Night Football is reportedly worth $1 billion per season. Apple recently signed a 10-year deal with MLS for all of its inventory worth $250 million a year.

Approximately 85% of US households have at least one streaming service. However, 85% is not 100%.

The question remains: is there enough desirable content in the Big Ten/Big 12/Pac-12 for Amazon to participate? The Big Ten is attractive, one insider suggested, but is it? what attractive?

“Otherwise, what’s the point?” an industry source said. “That’s why they bet on the NFL. They have high-level games.”

California revisits UCLA Big Ten move

UCLA’s plan to join the Big Ten will be reviewed by the UCLA Board of Regents at Wednesday meeting. Some Regents — and Gov. Gavin Newsom — remain frustrated by the covert nature of UCLA’s operations. They found out about it around the same time as the public on June 30th.

Sources tell CBS Sports that there is a 1% chance the Regents will force UCLA to stay in Pac-12. More likely: UCLA will share the proceeds from its deal with Cal to appease the Regents.

Starting in 2023, the Big Ten teams are estimated to receive $75 million a year. The question remains: if Cal wants to move into the Big Ten with three other Pac-12 schools, is it worth taking a reduced payout below the $75 million he receives. UCLA, but higher than what Pac-12 can achieve in their new media rights deal?

Big 12 / Pac-12 shootout

G12 commissioner Brett Jormark has publicly stated for the first time that his conference is focused on the West Coast. “Obviously I would like to go West,” Jormark told The Athletic. “Entering this fourth time zone. A program that has national recognition. A program that competes at the highest level in basketball and football, stands for the right things, fits in well with the culture.”

Not that it was a big surprise. CBS Sports reported shortly after USC and UCLA went into the Big Ten that the Big 12 wanted Arizona’s Pac-12s, Arizona states, Colorado and Utah.

It is not difficult to guess that Jormark meant at least Arizona in his remarks. The Big 12’s basketball potential – which a media rights expert says is “deeper” than the Pac-12’s – could make the difference. Consider expanding Big 12 basketball, which boasts Arizona, Baylor, Cincinnati, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, and West Virginia.

The tug of war also continues due to the so-called “fourth window” that ESPN desires for Saturday night programming. Can Pac-12 save all his teams? as well as is it a valuable fourth window, or will he have to share it with the Big 12?

Stay up late and stay tuned for updates.


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