Big 12 Agrees to Deal with FOX/ESPN

The Big 12 Conference announced a 13-year deal with ESPN and FOX Sports Media Group that will bring the league a reported $2.6 billion.

According to the Big 12, both companies will jointly share the conference's football over-the-air and cable rights, with ESPN continuing as the primary rights-holder of men's basketball, including the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

The ESPN deal starts with the 2012-2013 season and runs through 2024-25. It will replace the previous eight-year deal with the network, which was slated to end in 2015-2016. And it now runs alongside the 13-year FOX deal, which was announced this past spring.

"The stability of the Big 12 Conference is cemented," said commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "We are positioned with one of the best media rights arrangements in collegiate sports, providing the Conference and its members unprecedented revenue growth, and sports programming over two networks."

As part of the agreement, the number of guaranteed full national football telecasts was bumped to a minimum of 25 per season over ABC, FOX, ESPN and FX. It allows FOX a minimum of six games annually on broadcast television. ESPN also has cable access to place Big 12 games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

FOX has enhanced selections through 2015, with ESPN and FOX sharing rotating game selections starting in 2016. And all media and "TV everywhere" rights go to ESPN and FOX.

Starting this season, every Big 12 home game will be carried on a combination of ESPN, FOX or institutional platforms.

Big 12 schools will have the option to retain rights to one conference-controlled football game per season for distribution via permitted member institution outlets and third-party licensees, or can return the retained game back to FOX for broadcast. Institutions will also be permitted to retain a minimum of four men's basketball games a season. In all other sports, institutions will retain rights to all home contests not selected for air by ESPN or FOX.

"Today's announcement, coupled with the hiring of Bob Bowlsby as our league's new commissioner, is a great example of how well the Big 12 is positioned for the future," added DeLoss Dodds, Texas Men's Athletics Dirctor and chairman of the Big 12 Athletics Directors. "This contract ensures the Big 12 Conference will continue to be one of the premier conferences in the country."

"The Big 12 combines institutions known for excellence with passionate fan bases and rich traditions," commented ESPN president John Skipper. "This agreement gives us long-term stability, more games and more flexibility for when and how fans can see their favorite teams."

"We're very pleased to continue our long-running relationship with the Big 12, clearly one of the most successful and esteemed collegiate athletic conferences in America," said Randy Freer, Co-President & COO, FOX Sports Media Group. "This expanded partnership gives FSMG several Big 12 football games to showcase as part of our first-ever over-the air schedule on FOX, while also providing a substantial number of games for our other platforms. It's a win-win for everyone concerned."

Horns Digest Top Stories