Are streaming-only football games coming to the Big Ten?

·2 min read

The Big Ten is seeking a new media deal, and it might change the way Iowa fans watch their favorite team.

As the entertainment world moves more and more toward streaming, football is no exception. Recently the NFL announced that they will now be streaming Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime starting in the 2022 season.

Now, the Big Ten is toying with the idea as they ponder their next media deal. The current deals with FOX and ESPN expire after this academic year as explored in Sam Marsdale’s latest for 247Sports.

The value of the Big Ten’s next media-rights deal could be worth roughly $1 billion, according to Sports Business Journal, but (Big Ten commissioner Kevin) Warren did not confirm any potential numbers with Dennis Dodd earlier this month. Warren named seven suitors — CBS, TNT, NBC, Apple, Amazon, FOX and ESPN.

The Big Ten led all conferences in the 2020 fiscal year. That year, even with the pandemic negatively impacting business, the Big Ten reported $768.90 million in total revenue. That beat the SEC, which came in second, by a fairly wide margin. – Marsdale, 247Sports.

“I think the biggest thing is for us to continually be really thoughtful as we finalize our deals and come up with our thought process,” Warren said. “The media landscape has changed, and you think (of) the interplay between linear television and streaming.

“We just have to really think through what fits for what the Big Ten stands for, what’s in the best interest of our fans, what’s in the best interests of our student-athletes, and what’s in the best interest of our member institutions. So on all of these complex deals that you’re working on, as you start kind of really honing in, this is the time to be thoughtful, to ask a lot of questions, to determine what makes the most sense, and really to take the time that you need.”

While it has not explicitly been stated that the Big Ten will commit to only streaming games, or how they would go at doing so, hopefully, it will make more games available. For example, games that wouldn’t be on television would now be available as part of a streaming service, rather than locking massive primetime games behind a paywall.

Fans should not panic yet, of course, it is all speculation right now, but with the trends of sports media, this is certainly something to keep an eye on over the next month.

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