Big East of Eden

college basketball big east tournament
As TV networks have become more judicious about spending and cash flow, the Big East appeared to be the type of conference that was destined to be left behind. Photo: Steven Ryan/Getty Images
John Ourand
June 27, 2024

When NBC Sports president Rick Cordella became interested in picking up broadcast rights to the Big East conference, he didn’t actually ring up the conference. Instead, his first calls went to Fox Sports executives Mark Silverman and Jordan Bazant, who were running the process. WBD Sports’ Luis Silberwasser was right behind him on the phone log. 

Yes, this all seems very unorthodox: Why would a broadcast network negotiate a rights deal with competitors? After all, Fox Sports didn’t actually control these rights; the conference did, of course. And this wasn’t even some sort of sublicensing agreement, like ESPN’s recent decision to sell College Football Playoff games to WBD. (Fox Sports also recently sold some UEFA Euro 2024 matches to Fubo.)