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Fox Sports eyes Big Ten rights

The Fox Sports division of US network Fox has said that it plans to be an “active participant” in talks over a new media rights deal for the Big Ten Conference college sports organisation, according to the Cedar-Rapids Gazette newspaper.

The Big Ten’s first-tier rights are currently held by sports broadcaster ESPN and the ABC network. The deal is due to expire after the 2016 American football season.

Fox already has a significant interest in the Big Ten. It has rights to the conference’s American football championship game through to 2016 and owns 51 per cent of the Big Ten Network cable television broadcaster.

“I think when the time comes, we will certainly be an active participant in next round of Big Ten rights talks,” Fox Sports’ vice-president for programming, Mike Mulvihill, said. “Clearly we have a majority interest in the Big Ten Network. We have an ongoing relationship with the conference with the Big Ten Championship Game. I think the relationship between our management and Big Ten Conference management is exceptionally strong. I expect that we'll be a very active participant in those discussions.”