From Sports Business Journal's "Apple back in on Big Ten talks" posted Thursday:
Soon after the news about USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten broke, an Apple exec called the conference with a simple message: It wanted to reengage in media-rights talks, report SBJ's John Ourand and Michael Smith. That call was emblematic of a chaotic day where media companies that had spent months finalizing how much they would pay for Big Ten rights were rushing back to the drawing board to see how the addition of two high-profile schools would change their bidding strategy.
It seems certain that negotiations now will extend into August and may be completed after Labor Day. Originally, the Big Ten had been planning to wrap up its rights negotiations at some point in July. The Big Ten was expected to be the first college conference to eclipse $1 billion in media-rights fees annually -- and that was before USC and UCLA said they would join. The Big Ten presidents officially voted to add the two schools tonight.
Fox Sports already had reached a deal to carry at least half of the conference’s package, and CBS was viewed as a front-runner to take at least a package of Saturday football games in the 3:30pm ET window. That left Amazon, ESPN and NBC competing for a third package. As late as this morning, Apple and Warner Bros. Discovery were not viewed as credible bidders. That could all change.
My take: Someone at Apple is a big college football fan, and I think I know who.