BIG EAST adds Butler, Xavier, Creighton; Announce TV Deal; MSG

USA TODAY Sports

Ten university presidents sat in Fox News studio in Manhattan to announce most of the major details of a new Big East Conference.

At Fox News' Studio D in New York City, 10 university presidents sat on stage to announce their new league starting next season. Presidents from Butler, Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Creighton, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John's and DePaul were present to participate in the announcement.

The new Big East announced a television and media rights deal with Fox Sports's new all-sports network, which encompasses all television rights as well as digital rights. Games not featured on Fox's networks could be sold to other broadcasters or streamed on the Fox Sports GO mobile platform.

"We applaud all the Big East schools for taking responsibility for their own destiny and forming what is clearly one of the top college basketball leagues in the country," said FOX Sports Media Group Co-President and COO Randy Freer.

"The quality of the competition is obvious. Five teams who will play in the renewed Big East next season are playing in this year's NCAA tournament, and seven qualified for postseason play overall. We're extremely proud and fortunate to offer college basketball of this caliber on FS1 next season and for many seasons to come."

Olympic sports and some Women's basketball rights are also covered by the agreement.

Financial specifics weren't discussed, but Xavier University's president, Fr. Michael J. Graham, the new TV deal was worth $2.5 million per year for his school, compared to a $400,000 annual distribution in the Atlantic 10.

The new league has also obtained a lease that will put their postseason league basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden until 2026. MSG officials declined to comment when asked during the press conference about whether or not the ACC Tournament could (or could have) move to New York City. The Gothamite tradition which started with the earliest iterations of the Big East conference will be introduced to the three new league partners.

"Even Omaha people are going to come to New York City next year and they're going to love it," Providence College president Fr.Brian J. Shanley stated. "They're going to want to be here every spring"

The new Big East will stand still at 10 members heading into next season. They are comfortable at that number, but further expansion will be a topic of discussion between the league and it's media partners. Georgetown's president, John DeGioia, noted that the league may be interested in seeing how further conference realignments occur before committing to any expansion plan.

The league also announced that Dan Beebe, the former commissioner of the Big 12 conference who was forced out after that league became unstable and nearly collapsed, was hired as a consultant for the new league. They have also hired Russell Reynolds Associates, the same search firm used to hire Mike Aresco as commissioner of the old Big East conference, to help find a commissioner for the new league.

Here is the full Press Release

The Big East Conference, boasting 10 institutions with tradition-rich athletics programs, and FOX Sports have entered into a landmark 12-year multi-platform media rights agreement beginning with the 2013-14 academic year. The announcement was made today during a press conference held in New York City attended by the presidents of the Big East’s member institutions, along with FOX Sports Media Group Co-President and COO Randy Freer and FSMG Executive Vice President Larry Jones. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The reconstituted Big East Conference now features Butler University, Creighton University, DePaul University, Georgetown University, Marquette University, Providence College, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, Villanova University and Xavier University beginning with the 2013-14 academic year. Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s and Seton Hall are all founding members of the Big East, which began conference play in 1979. Villanova was added in 1980, while DePaul and Marquette joined in 2006. The official addition of Butler, Creighton and Xavier universities was also announced during the press conference today.

The agreement grants FOX Sports rights to all conference-controlled men’s basketball games, select rights to women’s basketball, all Olympic sports and extensive rights for highlights and to produce ancillary programming.

FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports’ newly minted national multi-sport channel which launches this summer, is slated to televise over 100 men’s regular-season basketball games next season. The network is also scheduled to carry the entire Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament each season, live from Madison Square Garden in New York City, the tournament’s home since 1983, and the longest-running conference tournament played at one venue.

"We applaud all the Big East schools for taking responsibility for their own destiny and forming what is clearly one of the top college basketball leagues in the country," said Freer. "The quality of the competition is obvious. Five teams who will play in the renewed Big East next season are playing in this year’s NCAA tournament, and seven qualified for postseason play overall. We’re extremely proud and fortunate to offer college basketball of this caliber on FS1 next season and for many seasons to come."

Added Father Dennis Holtschneider, President of DePaul University: "The New Big East is fortunate to have found a partner such as FOX Sports, which shares our intense passion for college basketball, and is committed to celebrating the student-athletes and the natural rivalries that make college athletics so unique and appealing for fans across the nation."

In addition to this season’s men’s basketball success, schools in the new Big East are a basketball force annually, with a long tradition of NCAA tournament play. Over the years, the new Big East’s 10 member institutions have combined for well over 200 NCAA tournament appearances.

Also included in the agreement is a full array of "TV Everywhere" rights which adds to the robust content already available on FOXSports.com, one of the nation’s leading sports Internet sites and FOX Sports GO, a groundbreaking mobile sports experience for iPhone, iPad and Android devices launching this August in conjunction with FS1. FOX Sports Go offers more than 1,000 live games and events from across FOX Sports, FS1 and FOX Sports’ 22 regional sports networks, as well as scores, highlights, news, stats, and analysis. Live games and events are available to subscribers of participating cable, satellite, and telco providers at no additional cost.

Today’s announcement with the Big East Conference reaffirms FOX Sports’ long-term commitment to college sports programming. In the last two-and-a-half years, FSMG has procured multi-platform media rights associated with five major collegiate conferences: Big East; Big Ten; Big 12; Conference USA; and Pac-12.

FOX Sports now boasts a comprehensive portfolio of college product, with approximately 2,000 marquee events showcased through national and regional platforms, including FOX Sports broadcasts, FS1, FSN, Big Ten Network and FOX College Sports. In addition to the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Conference USA and Pac-12, FSMG’s impressive roster of other conference partners includes the local rights with the ACC and SEC. FSMG also has multimedia third-tier rights agreements with Baylor, Florida, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, which include football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and additional non-game programming.

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