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ESPN Adds to Big Ten Media Pot of Gold

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The Power 5 Conferences are now officially the Power 2 and the Semi-Power 3.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten is about to triple its take from their media rights, and join the SEC in lapping its brethren when it comes to printing money.

Apparently ESPN isn't as nervous about cord cutting as some have speculated. They just agreed to pay the Big 10 over one billion dollars for half of their national media rights.

ESPN and Fox will pay the Big 10 a combined $2.6 Billion over a six-year period, which will almost triple the yearly payout the league gets from its major media deal. The contact goes into effect next year and runs through the 2022-23 season.

CBS also renewed its limited basketball contract for $10 million a year.

Fox will pay $240 million a year, while ESPN will write a check for $190 million. Each network will get 25 football games and 50 basketball games annually. For its extra $50 million a year, Fox will get first choice of football games (hello Michigan vs. Ohio State), and will have the conference championship game every season.

ESPN had low-balled the Big 10 with its first offer for the media rights, but then Fox stepped in with their  $1.4 billion offer for just half of the inventory. ESPN was put in the corner of coming up with a legitimate offer of their own, or see the ABC/ESPN 50-year relationship with the Big 10 go away.

The deal assures the Big 10 that it will be passing out somewhere between $40 and $50 million annually to each program, including media rights, the Big 10 Network, NCAA basketball and bowl revenue.

Conference Commissioner Jim Delany added another tweak to this new deal. Delany is betting that over the next six years the media industry will figure out what the distribution landscape will look like in the future. And that means that the Big 10 will come up for renewal before any of the other Power 5 Conferences and right before their Grant of Rights expire. It also gives a clearer picture on when to expect the next round of realignment and downsizing.

Texas shouldn't be worrying about hiring a baseball coach.

Texas should be working to hire a permanent Athletics Director.