Apple restarts talks with Big Ten following USC, UCLA news
A new report says that USC and UCLA’s decision to join the Big Ten has prompted Apple to reengage with talks about a possible streaming deal.
The Big Ten announced Friday that USC and UCLA were joining the league from 2024.
The Big Ten announced today that the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles will become conference members effective August 2, 2024, with competition to begin in all sports the 2024-25 academic year.
In a statement, the Big Ten announced that it had unanimously voted to accept the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California into its fold, with competition kicking off in the 2024-25 season.
While the news has sent shockwaves through college sports, it also has media companies scrambling to re-assess the deals they’re considering with the league, including Apple.
SBJ reports that an Apple exec called the conference immediately following the news “with a simple message: It wanted to reengage in media-rights talks.”
The report says that it seems certain the talks will continue through August, with a deal now very likely to eclipse $1 billion:
Fox Sports already had reached a deal to carry at least half of the conference’s package, and CBS was viewed as a front-runner to take at least a package of Saturday football games in the 3:30pm ET window. That left Amazon, ESPN and NBC competing for a third package. As late as this morning, Apple and Warner Bros. Discovery were not viewed as credible bidders. That could all change.
Apple has delved into live sports on both Apple TV+ and its TV platform recently. The company has a deal to show Friday Nigh Baseball exclusively to Apple TV+ customers through 2022. It has also recently announced an exclusive streaming deal with the MLS that will run for the next 10 years and cost it $2.5 billion.
Apple is also reportedly a front-runner for NFL Sunday Ticket and is said to be one of three suitors that have submitted bids and are awaiting a response.
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