Report: Amazon wanted in on Big Ten's media rights deal, willing to pay excess of $350 million
At Pac-12 Media Day in July, league commissioner George Kliavkoff was asked to provide any details he could about how he hoped the structure of the league’s next media rights deal would look. Would it be entirely based around traditional cable networks? Would direct-to-consumer arms come into play? Amazon and Apple — who both have their own streaming platforms but have yet to break into college sports — were directly mentioned.
“Without talking about individual potential partners, I would say it’s highly likely that we will end up with a big digital partner for some of our rights and that our rights will be distributed in a way that’s unique, different, and new,” Kliavkoff responded. “We’re excited about that.”
The Big Ten officially announced its next media rights agreement on Thursday — a multi-network deal that will provide Big Ten programming on FOX, CBS, FS1, the Big Ten Network, NBC, and NBC’s streaming arm Peacock.
One partner left out, though through no fault of trying to get in on the action, was Amazon.
According to The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch, Amazon was willing to pay more than what CBS and NBC ultimately paid for a spot in either the primetime window or the 3:30 p.m. ET spot that ultimately went to NBC and CBS, respectively.
It’s been reported those two networks each paid $350 million to get in on the Big Ten deal.
That begs the question: if Amazon wanted in on the Big Ten and was shut out, would it have interest in the Pac-12? And if so, how much would it be willing to pay?
With ESPN also shut out of the Big Ten deal — the first time in four decades the Big Ten won’t have games on the Worldwide Leader — Kliavkoff has an interesting sales pitch to make. FOX is going all-in on the noon ET window for college football Saturdays. ESPN’s next deal with the SEC will transition the SEC game of the week at 3:30 p.m. ET from CBS over to ABC. The Pac-12 theoretically has plenty of programming to offer for the afternoon and late-night slots.
How does an Amazon afternoon with an ESPN evening sound?
Now that the Big Ten’s deal is done, the Pac-12’s media rights are next to market. Kliavkoff said back in July he expected things to ramp up once the Big Ten’s deal was finalized. We shall see.