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Confirmed: Big Ten Football, Basketball Games to Air on Paramount+’s More Expensive Premium Tier

Matt Tamanini

On Thursday, the Big Ten Conference announced its blockbuster new media rights deal that moves the league out of a four decade-relationship with ESPN and into a seven-year pact with FOX, NBC, and CBS. The agreement will see the Big Ten’s football and basketball games spread across the three networks while also having exclusive contests airing on Peacock.

However, the NBCUniversal streamer is not the only non-linear platform to get into the game as Paramount+ will also make the contests that air on CBS available to subscribers. But, what was not clear from either the Big Ten or Paramount Global press releases on the subject was what subscription tier the games would appear on.

Paramount+’s Essential plan costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year, and while the tier does not include live access to a subscriber’s local CBS station, it does provide sports fans with separate streaming feeds for NFL, UEFA Champions League, and Serie A action.

The platform’s Premium option runs $9.99 monthly or $99.99 per year., and not only does this tier include live, local CBS programming and all of the content available on the Essential plan, but the streamer’s library content is mostly commercial-free as well.

While it would have been reasonable to expect that Big Ten football and basketball games would join other major sports programming on the lower-priced Essential plan, The Streamable has confirmed that when CBS begins airing the conference’s contests in fall 2023, they will only be available to stream via Paramount+’s Premium plan.

This means that for Big Ten fans who do not have a traditional pay-TV subscription, to watch games on CBS, they will either need to view them over the air or through the nearly $10 per month Paramount+ package. The streamer is also the streaming home of The Masters, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and more, making it a reasonably cost-effective subscription for sports fans.

As for the Peacock portion of the conference’s streaming rights, the service will host eight regular-season football games per season, and as many as 47 regular-season men’s basketball games (32 in conference and 15 non-conference) and 30 regular-season women’s basketball games (20 in conference and 10 non-conference).

All of Peacock’s current exclusive sports programming — “MLB Sunday Leadoff,” Notre Dame football games, even NFL “Sunday Night Football” simulcasts — are available on all subscription tiers. Peacock Premium runs $4.99 per month while Premium Plus is $9.99. However, the cheaper Premium tier is currently included for all Comcast and Cox cable customers, so it is believed that Peacock-exclusive games will be available for free to those subscribers.

This new rights deal for the Big Ten is reportedly worth more than $8 billion according to The Athletic and will usher in an entirely new phase in the live sports arms race already gripping broadcast and streaming outlets.

Paramount Plus

Paramount+ is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 40,000+ TV show episodes from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and more. The lineup includes “1883,” “Tulsa King,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and MTV’s “Laguna Beach.” From well-loved franchises to compelling originals, Paramount+ offers a great library worth streaming. Live NFL games are included. The service also offers the option to watch your live CBS affiliate.

Subscribers can choose between the Essentials Plan (which includes ads) for $4.99/month, or go commercial-free with the Premium Plan for $9.99/month. Subscribers can add Showtime to either plan for an additional fee.

With their Premium Plan, in addition to not having ads, you will also get access to your local CBS affiliate to stream your local news, prime-time lineup, and late-night. You will also be able to download offline and watch select shows in 4K.

With the lower cost “Essential” plan, you will still be able to watch live NFL games, Champions League, and national news – but you will no longer get your local CBS affiliate.

With their new app, enjoy advanced recommendations, curated homepages, and new content categories while still being able to stream major live sports like NFL, College Football, College Basketball. Sports fans will also appreciate the service’s inclusion of NFL on CBS, PGA Tour, along with every match of UEFA Champions League and Serie A.

The service was previously called CBS All Access.

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