New Big East has big TV deal with Fox
NEW YORK — The breakaway basketball schools kept the Big East name and the conference tournament in Madison Square Garden. In return, they left behind tens of millions of dollars to the football members.
That was easy to do with a lucrative television contract awaiting.
The new Big East launched as a 10-member league Wednesday with the additions of Butler, Creighton and Xavier and a 12-year deal with Fox. The agreement is worth about $500 million with the possibility of increasing to $600 million were the league to add more members according to a person with knowledge of the details.
The so-called Catholic 7 schools will start play with their three new colleagues in the fall.
Providence's president, the Rev. Brian Shanley, was a student at the college when its athletic director, Dave Gavitt, spearheaded the creation of the Big East in 1979. The conference's name was proposed by his father's marketing firm.
“This name is bold. This name is strong. This name is memorable,” Shanley said. “That's why it's been important for us to keep that name and keep that legacy going.”
When the Catholic 7 decided to leave in December, they didn't have a TV deal yet, but they had a sense the market was strong, said Georgetown president John DeGioia. After they started to talk to Fox in January, they knew they could bring in plenty of revenue as they negotiated their exit from the old Big East.