Navy will retain the television rights to its home and selected rivalry games as part of the Big East deal announced formally with ESPN on Tuesday, CBSSports.com has learned.
Navy is committed to joining the as-yet-unnamed new conference as a football-only member in 2015. However, it will keep its home TV rights with CBS/CBS Sports Network through 2017. In addition, Navy's home game with Notre Dame will be televised on CBS in 2014 and 2016 with an option for 2018. The school has been open to moving those home games to neutral sites. Last year's game was played in Dublin, Ireland. The 2014 game will be played at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins. The Army-Navy game is committed to CBS through 2018.
A CBS spokesman said there would be no comment, but pointed out that Navy's deal is part of an existing contract.
The Big East and ESPN announced their rights deal Tuesday, which extends to 2020 for football and basketball. The deal is worth $130 million total, according to ESPN.com. As late as October, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco had sought $300 million per year from ESPN before the rights went to the open market.
The new Big East (or whatever it is named) will be at 10 teams for 2013. Navy would be the 11th school in 2015. There have been various reports that Tulsa or Massachusetts could be the 12th member.
“We are looking at expansion. I haven't made any secret of it,” Aresco said. “We obviously wanted to wait until conference tournaments were over until we start the process in earnest.”
It's not clear how revenue would be distributed with Navy retaining those certain rights. Boise State bundled the rights to its home games, selling them separately to enhance the Mountain West TV package.
“There has been no infighting in terms of distribution of money,” Aresco said.
The so-called Catholic 7 basketball schools will retain the name “Big East.” The new football conference will begin playing a conference championship game on campus sites, probably once the league reaches 12 teams in 2015.