CBS INTERCEPTS COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES

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CBS has signed five-year deals with the Southeastern Conference and the Big East for rights to their football games starting in 1996.

The agreements, signed Feb. 10, are reportedly worth $85 million to the SEC and $55 million to the Big East. The SEC deal includes some basketball games.

Both conferences' football games now appear on ABC and ESPN. CBS' coverage of college football has been limited to two post-season bowl games. The network hopes to make up the loss it suffered when the National Football League sacked CBS after 36 years in favor of the Fox network starting this fall.

The deal is seen as spurring talk among other conferences about consolidation or expansion.

CBS wanted the conferences as a package to have more teams and better games from which to choose. The combined SEC and Big East markets represent only 60% of the country, but TV executives feel the SEC has appeal beyond the South.

The SEC is also involved in syndicating games with Jefferson Pilot Broadcasting, a Charlotte, N.C. syndicator.

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