In the so-called world of amateur sports, college basketball and other school fare, you might have noticed that the University of Connecticut has decided to bring its array of sports back to the Big East jilting the American Athletic Conference. The University of Connecticut will give the AAC some sort of exit payment and then will look to place its football program somewhere. One group that seemingly is very happy with the move is a cable TV network that has a partnership or pays a rights fee for games, the New York City-based SNY regional sports network. But there is a complication. SNY does air UConn basketball games but does not have a direct agreement with the Storrs, Connecticut-based university. Instead SNY gets the games from ESPN which sublets the games to SNY. The ESPN deal is with the AAC and the University of Connecticut is part of that package. When the University of Connecticut leaves, it is unknown whether the Disney-owned ESPN will give the AAC a smaller TV rights fee. The Big East is part of the FOX Sports group. FOX does not have the multiple TV platforms or streaming video that ESPN is able to provide. That is where SNY could jump in. SNY might also big interested in getting a TV rights deal with the University of Connecticut football team.
The NCAA is all about money and getting television money is at the top of the must do list in the business plan. In 2003, Connecticut lawmakers were so worried about the Atlantic Coast Conference poaching Big East football schools that it threaten to sue the ACC. The ACC was renegotiating its TV deal and decided it wanted Boston College, the University of Miami and Syracuse University. The ACC wanted big TV markets. It meant money. Connecticut would leave the Big East eventually. Now it is returning.