The Big East’s $20Mish TV Deal
It is expected that the Big East will land a television deal for approximately $20 million per year. Total. As in $2M per school. This excludes the so-called Catholic-7, who are working their own deal.
It has also been widely reported that the Big East once turned down an offer that would have paid each football school $13M per year. Apparently, it was Pitt, WVU, and Rutgers that led the charge to turn down that deal. These three schools and Georgetown allegedly voted against it.
So, if you are decent at math, UConn, Cincy, and USF have lost $11M per year because of these four schools’ rejection of the deal. Granted, there may be some recoupment based on shares of exit fees, but these are huge losses.
If I am these schools, I am furious at Pitt for rejecting the deal and then bolting, leading the charge toward the eventual loss of $11M per year. At least in Syracuse’s case, they were willing to accept the ESPN deal. It can be argued that the improvident rejection was an impetus for moving to the ACC. In Pitt’s case, they rejected on the theory that the Big East was worth more and then were the first domino to make it worth less. And WVU and Rutgers can always note that the Big East would have been worth more had everyone stayed, as they assumed when voting. Pitt is the one that deserves the ire.
As a lawyer, I have seem far far more frivolous suits that ANY theory that UConn, USF, and Cincy could raise against Pitt for these dealings. As a lawyer, I also expect that the Pitt exit fee settlement included a release of those claims (by conference or school). And even if they could, it is doubtful that anyone would sue. But the whole thing does really stink.
From the ACC’s perspective, it needs to throw the book at Maryland. Pitt leaving set off a chain reaction that cost three Big East schools to lose tens of millions of dollars–much more than their share of the exit fee. This is WHY an exit fee needs to be so high. Wake Forest, who is ACC or bust, needs to vote against any settlement for less than face value. If Maryland starts a chain reaction, exit fees are all you’ll have.
More on that later.
For now, let’s all just sympathize with UConn, Cincy, and USF fans.