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What role did Fox Sports play in getting USC, UCLA to join Big Ten?

Fox Sports officials were part of the Big Ten's negotiating team for a new media dealGetty Images

Fox Sports could have been one of the major players in getting USC and UCLA to join the Big Ten, as it is “reasonable to presume that this is Fox’ counterweight to ESPN getting the SEC with Texas and Oklahoma,” according to the San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner. Fox already has a deal to carry at least half of the conference’s games, with the rest of the package still at market (“The Paul Finebaum Show,” SEC Network, 6/30). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel writes USC and UCLA going to the Big Ten is about Fox Sports "expanding its footprint with its college football package, and that league having more to offer other TV broadcast partners that crave live programming" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/1). In Omaha, Tom Shatel writes this was Fox Sports “as the quarterback of the Big Ten, calling the plays.” When it surfaced that Fox Sports officials “were part of the Big Ten’s negotiating team for a new media deal, some thought it strange that a network would be in that role.” It turns out that Fox Sports is “also in charge of the Big Ten’s future.” Shatel: “This is a sign that the new Big Ten Media Rights deal is a doozy, and USC-UCLA must be a significant part of that” (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 7/1).

BIG TEN LOOKING AT BIG MONEY: In St. Paul, John Shipley calls the Big Ten adding USC and UCLA a “great move” and makes it the “nation’s only coast-to-coast conference.” Additionally, with the schools the “only college powers in L.A.,” the Big Ten will “have cornered the nation’s second-largest media market.” Shipley: “That will allow the Big Ten to negotiate an unparalleled television rights deal and provide its schools a mammoth annual financial guarantee” (St. Paul PIONEER PRESS, 7/1). Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel noted the Big Ten is “negotiating its next TV contract right now” and the “Big Ten will probably get one even bigger” than the SEC’s $1B deal. Wetzel said if USC and UCLA remained in the Pac-12, they would be “behind in television money.” Speaking of the Pac-12, Wetzel said, “The money is just not there because the television viewers aren’t there. …The entrenchment of college football in the culture of the midwest and the south is just different. You’re just not going to get those TV numbers (with the Pac-12)” (“The Jim Rome Show,” CBS Sports Radio, 6/30).

APPLE OF THEIR EYE: SBJ's John Ourand reported Apple wants to re-engage with the Big Ten regarding its media rights following the addition of USC and UCLA. Click here to read the whole story.

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