Big Ten Network Gets New York City Pot of Gold

Gregory Shamus

With a tip of the hat to Rutgers, the Big Ten Network has gained a foothold in the largest TV market in the nation.

In 2013, the Big Ten Network produced almost $270 million in revenue for the league members.

That may seem like pocket change in the near future.

With Rutgers joining the league, the Big 10 Network has made distribution deals with both Time Warner and Cablevision for the lucrative New York City market. The network will be on the basic sports package offered to more than 4 million subscribes between the two cable distributors.

The Big 10 is still negotiating with Comcast and hopes to have a deal before the 2014 football season kicks off.

Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delaney welcomed Rutgers into the Big 10 fold precisely for a day like Monday. The Big 10 Network is his baby, and he has turned it into the gold standard of regional sports networks.

Presently the league is generating $1 per month per subscriber from cable providers in Big 10 markets. Should that price be close to what the league is getting in NYC that  would mean an additional $48 million a year in TV revenue from one market alone.

The league is still in negotiations with the Washington/Baltimore markets, TV home to Maryland, the other new Big 10 member.

The Big 10 now covers 30% of the population with its TV markets and has almost 5 million alumni stretched out across the country as well. Delaney now expects the Big 10 to distribute more than $40 million a year to each and every Big 10 team in TV revenue by 2017. Maryland should see almost $100 million more over the next six years than it would have in the ACC.

Rutgers, mired in debt over the last decade, will be paid handsomely for being a football whipping boy in the league as well. The Scarlet Knights will celebrate their official entry into the Big 10 by having their first two conference games (against Penn State and Michigan) telecast live on the Big 10 Network.

If nothing else, Delaney at least has given the SEC Network a financial goal to shoot at.

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