The Big Ten no longer has to worry about exclusive time windows for televising its football and men's basketball games.
The Big Ten conducted a mid-term review of its media contracts after adding Nebraska. One of the negotiated changes allows the league to schedule time overlaps with ABC and ESPN for sporting events.
"The windows are no longer exclusive," said Mark Rudner, the Big Ten's senior associate commissioner for television administration. "The network will have 3:30 Eastern games in the same window as ABC’s 3:30 Eastern games, which heretofore they couldn’t do. The same in basketball.
"Last year, since the beginning, if ESPN had a 7 p.m. Eastern game, that meant that the Big Ten Network had to wait until 9 p.m. Eastern, until the window was down. Now they’ll get some measure of relief."
The change allows the league scheduling flexibility and gives the Big Ten Network the ability to air games in multiple viewing windows. On four different Saturdays during the 2011 football season there are six Big Ten games with ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC usually airing three. Rather than lumping the other three games in the 11 a.m. CT window, the BTN can spread them into at least two time slots.
The earlier starts in basketball season could help boost attendance."The games still have to be played on those days," Rudner said. "But it makes it easier for fans."