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ESPN strikes Big East TV deal

The SportsXchange

ESPN retained television rights to Big East Conference football and basketball games for the next seven years, the network reported Saturday.

The Big East Conference confirmed the deal but did not reveal the financial terms but ESPN reported that it is for $130 million through the 2019-20 school year, citing sources.

Conference presidents are expected to approve the new contract on Monday.

ESPN matched an offer made last week by NBC.

"ESPN has matched the third-party offer that the Big East Conference received, and, subject to Big East board approval, ESPN and the Big East will continue, for years to come, their long-term relationship, which began in 1980," commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement.

The deal is similar to one made by the Mountain West with CBS Sports. The Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, Big 12 and ACC have significantly higher television contracts.

ESPN's deal with the Big East is for seven years for men's basketball (2013-20) and six for football (2014-20). It includes annually broadcasting 65 football games, 150-plus basketball games, a conference football championship game and the Big East men's basketball tournament.

The Big East's $10 million annual figure for men's basketball is contingent on the "Catholic Seven" staying in the conference. DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova are planning to form their own basketball-only conference in 2014.

Navy is scheduled to join the Big East for football in 2015. Tulsa or University of Massachusetts reportedly could also join as a 12th member if the conference expands.
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