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ESPN reportedly spends millions for Big 10 media rights package

ESPN CABLE TALKS
Jonathan Alcorn | Bloomberg | Getty Images

ESPN will spend $1.14 billion total for the second half of the Big Ten conference's media rights package, according to SportsBusiness Daily.

The sports cable giant owned by Disney will spend an average of $190 million per year over six years in the deal, sources told the the publication. Fox Sports agreed to purchase the other half of the package about two months ago, the outlet also reported.

The deal will expand ESPN's college sports offerings, and serves to reinforce the company's strength after fears have been raised over the past year about a decline in viewership.

SportsBusiness Daily said the Big Ten Conference will make $2.64 billion for its media rights over the next six years — from ESPN, Fox, and CBS, which pays for basketball-only rights — a hefty increase in the sum it typically makes for media rights.

The six-year agreement with ESPN is currently being vetted by lawyers, the report said, and the deal would take effect next fall.

Mike Soltys, ESPN's vice president of corporate communications, did not confirm the details of the deal to CNBC. He said in an email that "we are having productive and substantive discussions with the Big Ten."

The Big Ten Network did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for confirmation.

Read the full story at SportsBusiness Daily.