How impactful will the Big Ten/ESPN breakup be? | College Football Enquirer

Dan Wetzel & SI's Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss ESPN reportedly removing itself from contention in the Big Ten's next major television deal. With Big Ten football likely to be moving away from the worldwide leader, what impact will this have on college football and conference realignment?

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Video Transcript


DAN WETZEL: Pat, I'm wondering how are you getting through the pending Big Ten/ESPN divorce? They've been together 40 years, and now, no longer. Will you emotionally survive having to watch Big Ten Football on a different channel?

PAT FORDE: They seemed like such a perfect couple, and so you just didn't see this coming, seem very happy with one another. And I have sought some counseling that's been provided. They've got support people standing by to help. No, nobody gives a damn what channel the games are on, right?

The only reason anybody cares is because the revenue drives all the other decisions about who's in what conferences. The fans don't care, and I've had many people say it, and I agree with them. We'll watch the games whatever they're on, right? I don't care. It's fine. There are certain kind of rituals and realities, traditions, I guess, that went along with the Big Ten.

And ESPN mostly coming right out of Lee Corso putting on somebody's headgear and then going straight to the big house or Kinnick Stadium or State College or wherever right into a Big Ten game. But it's OK. We all have working remote clickers. We can find it on another channel. It's all going to be fine.

DAN WETZEL: Ross, is it ESPN's fault and their mistress, the SEC? Or is it the Big Ten and the Fox? I mean, who's cheating on whom first? That's what we really want to know.

ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah that's what I was going to say, is that if ESPN and the Big Ten were calling in a divorce, then is it because the Big Ten has a Foxy mistress and ESPN has a little Southern on the side? And I think maybe that's what's going on. I think that analogy works.

I think that's exactly what's going on here, is that the SEC is hooked itself to ESPN, and Fox has hooked itself to Big Ten and vise versa, and that's where we are. I think I was making some calls on this the last couple of days about what people within the industry think about this. And there's a lot of words like it's jarring and shocking and risky.

And I found that one to be the most interesting, right, that ESPN is going to-- or Big Ten is going to have some kind of a negative impact because they're not featured as much on ESPN talk shows, and maybe game day doesn't go to Big Ten sites as much. And so that's interesting. I had heard that some of the coaches were a little concerned up there from a recruiting advantage, a recruiting perspective of course, right? They're always focused on the recruiting.

DAN WETZEL: Yeah, so I think they're really we're looking-- like I think the Big Ten was looking for a sister-wife there to Fox. I mean, it's a lot of-- it's a real big step. No, I mean, to Pat's point, yeah. I mean, you're going to watch, right?

And here's the big thing. The Big Ten, if you weren't following, is going to sign a deal that has an NBC game at night and a CBS game at 3:30. And they're going to be on Fox at noon. This is not we're going to Amazon Prime. This is not we're going to Hulu or something that doesn't-- this is Fox, NBC, CBS-- or Fox, CBS, NBC.

This is like a deal out of 1965. I don't whenever Fox came along. I mean, this is broadcast, broadcast, broadcast. If you can't find Fox, CBS, NBC, you're hopeless, OK? So this is an old school deal. You will find your games. It doesn't really matter.