The important issue is that Fox wasn't scared off by the wrestling match yesterday. - Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
ESPN's Darren Rovell reports that The Seven have not only begun television negotiations, but that they've got a snazzy deal on the table already.
Let's get it straight from the source, then:
Sources say that Fox, whose Fox Sports 1 channel is set to launch in August, has an initial high offer on the table of more than $500 million for a 12-year deal. Fox Sports 1 will replace the network's motorsports channel Speed, already in 81 million homes. Sources say officials with Fox are scheduled to meet with those representing the interest of the "Catholic 7" in New York City on Wednesday.
It is believed the "Catholic 7" would divide its share of the television rights evenly and split the rest among what ideally will become the other three-to-five schools that it adds to form a 10- to 12-team conference. One source said it is likely the new schools wouldn't share the same amount as the "Catholic 7," which would allow the former Big East basketball schools to earn in the $5 million range.
There's a couple of problems with this report, though. First of all, I don't think The Seven are super excited about anything resembling an announcement that they're planning on giving their new conference partners less than what they're getting. If you were Xavier or Butler, would you be thrilled about the idea of getting significantly less television money than the majority of the other schools are getting for the next 12 years? It certainly seems like a significant advantage for The Seven.
The second noticeable problem is with the number that Rovell mentions for what the current Big East television deal is currently paying The Seven. I've seen approximately $1.5 million quoted repeatedly as the number for the current deal, while Rovell says "between $2 and $3 million." If the $1.5 million number is more accurate, I'd have to figure that The Seven would be more willing to give any new partners a more equitable share.
The last item of note here is that Rovell brings up the possibility of The Seven departing the Big East immediately following this season. With Fox launching their sports network in August, it's a pretty safe bet that they'd like to be able to run advertisements declaring themselves "THE home for The Seven basketball" right away. With that in mind, is it possible, or even likely, that Fox might be willing to pay the necessary exit fees to the Big East to get The Seven out immediately? When you take into account the lack of TV contract for the Big East for next year, it could be beneficial to both sides to have The Seven not participate in the 2012-13 Big East season.