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Rutgers makes a super move to Big 10 ... but can the Scarlet Knights really deliver the New York market?

rutgersR092411_optBY BOB HOLT
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti called it a “transformative day” for the University as Rutgers announced its move from the Big East to becoming the 14th member of the Big Ten.

The university has been in the Big East since 1991, but three teams left that league last year.

According to an Associated Press report on CBS Sports, reports say the Big Ten paid its members about $24 million last year. The Big East's members earned $6 million. The Big Ten hopes to increase its revenue because of Rutgers’ proximity to the lucrative New York media market. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said, "You know, it was a factor."

But Rutgers’ move made many people question whether the Big Ten’s television network would actually attract more viewers in New York City. Data from Scarborough Research has found that New York has about 1.4 million Rutgers fans.

“If you want to get the New York market, you have no other option,” said Scarborough vice-president Bill Nielsen, according to ESPN. Ed Desser of Desser Sports Media in Los Angeles disagreed.

"Rutgers might bring a small pocket of central New Jersey, but is there enough interest in New York for Rutgers to get a person to change their cable carrier if that carrier won’t carry the Big Ten Network?”  Desser questioned. “I don’t think so.”

The university will be working with the Big East on how they will leave the league, according to Pernetti. Rutgers’ entry date into the Big Ten is uncertain, but the league would like it to be at the same time as Maryland, who are entering the Big Ten in 2014.

Pernetti reduced athletic spending significantly in 2011, but Rutgers is still facing more spending cuts by 2016. “I’ve never made it a secret when I got here that we’re going to fix the finances of athletics and become a self-sufficient operation,” Pernetti said, according to Businessweek. “This puts us on a faster track toward doing that.”

 

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