(Sports Business Journal, November 11, 2013) Fox Sports has recently inked a two-year deal with the Big East conference to sell and market all corporate sponsorship throughout the Big East. This deal was made only days before the Big East kicked off the beginning of a 12-year, $600 million deal with Fox Sports as their primary televising network. The Big East now joins the ranks of the SEC and very few other conferences to make such a lucrative deal. The Big East executives believe they are paving the way for the other conferences to make integrated deals with television networks by granting them rights for televising and sponsorship sales.
Fox Sports has hit the ground running with a hardy advertising scheme that has led to regular season tickets being mostly sold out, and an astounding 70% of tickets to the Big East tournament, which is in March, have been sold already. A substantial reason that this deal was able to happen was because Val Ackerman was named the commissioner of the Big East just four months ago. She has been vital in negotiating this deal; she stated, “This is not just a basketball deal. They share our determination to promote and maximize the commercial opportunities with all of our sports.” Soon after she landed the job as commissioner, she was contacted by many agencies attempting to gain rights to sponsorship. Ackerman turned them all down though because she saw the upside in integrating sponsorship and televising all under one roof.
This deal is believed by both sides to be a ground-breaking deal that most if not all conferences willestablish in the very near future. It gives the Big East a leg up on the competition, and if all goes well, this deal will put Fox Sports in the driver’s seat to make deals with other conferences. Fox Sports has taken a big step forward in becoming one of the premier college sports networks and will already have experience when the next conference comes calling.