The Big East will remain on ESPN for the next six years as the gargantuan network elected to match the NBC Sports Network offer of $20-$23 million over six years. ESPN did this just to keep NBC Sports Network from building up an inventory of quality programing.
NBC Sports currently has CAA hoops, Ivy league football and basketball plus Mountain West football and hoops on the college side. Having ESPN retain the Big East actually does some damage to Mountain West football, because now the network has that much less money to bid on the Boise State package or second tier rights.
The Mountain West could have possibly filled the Big East's Thursday night slot, but no more. ESPN is not hurting for money by any means, but air time has been reduced with this offer.
Once again, it can not be overstated how Boise State and San Diego State made the right move in staying with the Mountain West.
However the best, and most hilarious, part of this deal is the tweet sent out by Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel:
ESPN pays $15M for one school's network (Texas), will get the entire Big East for just over $20M.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) February 21, 2013