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Separation of Church and State Conference AKA The Big East and Fox Sports Announce Partnership

Beginning in the 2013-14 Academic Year, the newly redesigned Big East Conference has announced a landmark 12 year media contract with Fox to be the lead media rights partner of the conference.  Included in the new contract will be 100 Men’s Basketball games, select Women’s Basketball and game certain Olympic Sports broadcasts.  Also, Fox Sports One will be launching a mobile app for computers, tablets and mobile phones which they will also have the rights for branded as “TV Anywhere”.

Here is the release.

big east logoFOX Sports 1


Rights Commence in 2013-14 Academic Year
Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament Coming to FOX Sports 1

New York – The Big East Conference, boasting ten 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 Co-President and COO Randy Freer and FOX Sports 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 2005. 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, 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, FOX Sports 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, FOX Sports’ impressive roster of other conference partners includes the local rights with the ACC and SEC. FOX Sports 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.

What We Know About The New Big East/Fox Contract

Now that the Catholic 7, err, Big East, err The Separation of Church and State Conference has 1 elected a new pope, 2 seen his inaugural mass,  the sports comes back to the front burner.

A special contribution to What’s Brewin from our friend Ken Fang of

On Wednesday, the TV deal between “The Catholic 7,” those basketball schools that broke away from The Big East and took the conference them with them, and Fox Sports will be announced.

Along with the announcement, three additional schools, Xavier, Creighton and Butler, will be unveiled as those joining the Catholic 7.

So before the press conference at the News Corp. World Headquarters in New York, let’s take a look at what we know about the new Big East contract with Fox:

  • The TV rights deal will reportedly be a 12 year, $500 million contract with Fox. It could grow to $600 million if the conference grows to 12 teams.
  • Games will carried on Fox Sports 1 joining the Big 12, Conference USA and the Pac-12.
  • The new Big East will carry on the tradition of Monday night games. A source says that Fox Sports 1 will spread the new Big East to other nights as well.
  • Fox is expected to sublicense games to other networks, most likely ESPN, however, this has not been finalized.
  • The conference tournament will be played at Madison Square Garden as part of another long-term deal.
  • No word yet on who will call the Big East on Fox Sports 1, however, it would most likely be Gus Johnson as the lead announcer for the Monday games and possibly the new Big East Tournament at MSG.

We’ll know more when the contract is made official on Wednesday.

The blame for the college conference confusion? GREED

by Jim Hague
follow him on twitter @ogsmar

Every day recently, the sports pages have been filled with more stories of colleges jumping ship, leaving their long-standing associations with their respective conferences and heading for greener pastures and new leagues.

It’s actually too confusing to keep up with. Syracuse and Pitt leaving the Big East for the ACC. Missouri leaving the crumbling Big 12 for the SEC. Teams in the Big 12 looking to head to the Pac-12, which has now decided against expansion. Other teams rumored to go to a host of different conferences. It’s really a mass exodus.

Quite honestly, if you want to know the main reason for all of this mess, it’s as simple as this. It’s $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

The colleges all want a little slice of the American dollar. It has nothing to do with geographic locations or educational affiliations. Nope. This is all about the greenback.

And who started the money train rolling along? None other than the almighty ESPN, which claims to be biggest and best supporter of college athletics. Sure, they started ESPNU and televise more college football and basketball games than anyone.

However, ESPN has to begin to take the fault for this ridiculous trend of schools leaving their respective conferences.

And it began when ESPN agreed to help start and defray the start-up costs for Texas to launch their now-controversial Longhorn television network.

It’s a network that will now enable Texas to collect as much as $30 million in added revenue every year, money that does not have to be shared with the remaining members of the floundering Big 12.

So schools like Nebraska and Texas A&M saw this trend and realized it was an unfair advantage for Texas. Not only were they getting revenues that the others were not able to attain, but having these programs televised all the time on this network represented an unfair recruiting advantage as well, something that Texas really didn’t need in the first place.

So Nebraska bolted for the Big Ten and a good slice of the highly successful Big Ten Network’s television cash. Texas A&M bolted for the SEC. The Big 12 has been decimated by these departures and apparently, it’s not over.

And it’s led to a trickle down effect to the other leagues. The Big East made a ridiculous move in their marketing of a televison package for football and that bungling has led to the exits of Syracuse and Pitt.

Instead of getting a guarantee of a little under $5 million from the Big East, the two schools now stand to get as much as $17 million from the ACC.

Now, I can fully understand Pitt wanting to leave the Big East for a more viable football conference, because Pitt has a solid program in both sports.

But Syracuse? The school hasn’t been relevant in football in ages. Sure, it’s still a basketball giant, but football? I can’t even remember the last time Syracuse was a bowl team.

And who is going to care about some of those ACC basketball games? Syracuse-Clemson doesn’t exactly excite the masses. Nor does Syracuse-Maryland, or Syracuse-Georgia Tech or Syracuse-Wake Forest.

Sure, it’s going to be great to face Duke and North Carolina, but that’s only two games. Does anyone think the Carrier Dome is going to sell out for Virginia Tech or Miami?

You’re losing some big time rivalries. Georgetown, St. John’s, Villanova. UConn, although UConn is looking to join Syracuse in the ACC. Those were exciting basketball showdowns. It wasn’t called “Big Monday” for nothing.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was on with Mike Francesa the other day and he said that he would hope to continue to play Georgetown, St. John’s and Villanova in independent games. Hey, if I’m any of those other schools, do you think I’m going to be nice and throw a bone to Syracuse now? Hell, no. I’m giving the Orange the finger and tell them to go play with their dirty money, like Bugs Bunny said to Baby Face Finster.

Now, to try to save face, the Big East has extended invitations to places like East Carolina, Central Florida, Navy and Air Force. Wow, I can’t wait for that Rutgers-Central Florida game at the RAC or East Carolina-Seton Hall at the Rock. Woooo, hooo…

It’s college sports. It’s not supposed to be about greed and avarice. But it sure has become that way.

So when you’re about to begin pointing fingers at the mess that college sports is in right now, look no further than the forerunner and so-called leader of college sports, ESPN. They started it all. Now, who is going to clean up the mess?


Why did Facebook tinker with a good thing? You know the old saying, ”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It didn’t need fixing.

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