It's now official. Announced with pomp and circumstance at Fox News Channel headquarters in New York, the new Big East – the Catholic 7 plus Butler, Creighton and Xavier – and Fox Sports unveiled a new 12 year rights agreement. The contract is reportedly worth $500 million and could reach $600 million if the conference expands to 12 schools (possibly Dayton and Saint Louis of the Atlantic 10). Let's take a look at some of the particulars of the new deal between Fox and the new Big East:
– Over 100 men's games will be aired on Fox Sports 1 starting with the 2013-14 season. Fox also has rights to men's basketball, women's basketball, Olympic sports, and highlights for ancillary programming.
– Fox Sports 1 wlll carry the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. No tournament games will air on another network. "The network is also scheduled to carry the entire Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament each season…"
– Fox wil get "TV Everywhere" rights, the ability to stream games on computers, mobiles and tablets.
"Also included in the agreement is a full array of “TV Everywhere” rights which adds to the robust content already available on FOXSports.com, one of the nation’s leading sports Internet sites and FOX Sports GO, a groundbreaking mobile sports experience for iPhone, iPad and Android devices launching this August in conjunction with FS1."
– The Big East will join Fox Sports 1's previously signed stable of the BIg 12, Conference USA and the Pac-12 for college basketball.
– The Big East will continue its tradition of playing on Monday nights. A source says the Big East will also be spread to other nights as well.
– Some regular season games will be sublicensed to another network (ESPN), but nothing has been finalized at this time.
– The Big East Tournament will be played at Madison Square Garden for the foreseeable future, however, when asked about the possibility of the ACC playing its tournament there, a Garden official sidestepped the question.
No word on who will call the games yet, but expect to hear the tones of Gus Johnson at a Georgetown-St. John's or Providence-Xavier contest next January.
Another tidbit from today's announcement, reporters were told that the Catholic 7 decided to leave the old Big East on December 15 and started talking with Fox in January.
So Fox Sports 1 is going to have some good college basketball programming next year. Getting the new Big East is definitely a coup.