The Big Ten Conference has reached the richest-ever television agreement for a college athletic league, selling the rights to its competitions for an average of at least $1 billion a year.

The seven-year arrangement, announced Thursday and worth at least $7 billion over the life of the contract, cements the Big Ten as one of the nation’s preeminent college sports leagues.

Starting with the 2023 season, the Big Ten’s deal will split football games among three broadcast networks, with Fox, CBS and NBC each armed with sought-after time slots. It dwarfs the conference’s expiring agreement, which has been worth about $430 million annually.

The deal calls for Fox, the dominant shareholder in the Big Ten Network, to have many of the signature football games from a league that already includes 14 universities — including eyeball-drawing brands like Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State — and will add Southern California and UCLA in 2024. Fox will also air games on the Big Ten Network and FS1.

CBS, whose long relationship with the SEC is nearing its end, will ultimately fill its Saturday afternoon time slot known for matchups from Southern football havens with games from Big Ten hot spots like Nebraska and Wisconsin.

NBC will choose a Big Ten contest to broadcast, often in prime time. Peacock, NBC’s streaming platform, will also show Big Ten games.


“The Big Ten will be on network television from noon on most Saturdays to 11 o’clock at night, which is unheard-of,” said Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, who added that he had been drawn to the Big Ten as “a truly national conference.”

The deal, which reflects broadcasters’ desire to capitalize on America’s enormous appetite for sports, comes at a time of extraordinary upheaval in college athletics. It promises to fuel the intensifying debate over how universities should treat athletes who are not paid salaries.

Although the Big Ten did not announce specific financial terms, four people with knowledge of the negotiations described the contracts.

In addition to football, the contracts cover men’s and women’s basketball and all other sports sponsored by the conference, including baseball, softball and volleyball.