NBC could pay out big for Big East

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: The Cincinnati Bearcats handle the ball against the Louisville Cardinals during the finals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

This one comes to us from a post on Big East Coast Bias, talking about NBC's need for sports inventory going forward -- they don't have an Olympics every year. According to that post, citing a report from college sports reporter Dick Weiss, NBC could be prepared to offer a package that would pay out $10 million per school, per year for football and an additional $4 million per school, per year for basketball to Big East members.

Football-only additions like Boise State and Navy would get the $10 million per year distribution, members that play basketball will receive $4 million per year and members playing all sports in the conference will get $14 million. That will somewhat close the massive gap between the Big East (where football members currently earn about $4 million) and other major conferences.

Currently, ACC members are slated to earn around $17million per year under a re-worked contract with ESPN. The Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 all distribute around $20 million per year to members.

For the Big East basketball schools, $4 million per year would represent a significant increase in athletics revenue going forward. That is an important factor for schools like Villanova, Georgetown and St. John's, that rely on television revenue to fund their programs at a competitive level. Marquette has also used television revenue to raise their program's budget since joining the Big East.

Currently, basketball members earn about $1.5 million per year from television revenue (though the exact formula for dividing the money isn't known and may not be entirely even).

There is even a chance that, if a bidding war develops between NBC and Fox -- or if ESPN has a sudden change of heart about the league -- that the conference could do better than that reported number. Associate commissioner Nick Carparelli has told reporters recently that he believes they could exceed the value of the ACC's current deal.

If it happens, be prepared to watch games on your local NBC affiliate and contact your cable or satellite provider about carrying the NBC Sports Network as well.

Villanova and Notre Dame have existing relationships with NBC as a media partner for football. Villanova's relationship is through the CAA Football conference, which signed a broadcast agreement with NBC to air six of the FCS conference's games on the cable network every season. Notre Dame's football home games, meanwhile, are carried nationally on NBC's broadcast network.

The Big East reportedly promised San Diego State (and possibly also Boise State) that the split of television revenue would allocate at least 70% to football. The above quoted number represents slightly less than that figure (around 64%), so things might be tweaked if necessary to shift money around.

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