BIG 12 REALIGNMENT'S DRAMATIC FINISH
The Big 12 is offering perhaps the last two or four memberships into the Power 5 Club before what could be the College Football Realignment Apocalypse around 2024. Get your tickets now.
In the minds of Cincinnati, BYU, Houston, UConn, Memphis, Colorado State, Boise State, SMU, Central Florida, USF and Tulane those last two to four seats might as well be the last two to four seats on a space capsule leaving Mars. Because that’s where you’ll be without one of these precious seats.
So you figured it might come down this: schools elbowing each other out of the way by trying to buy their way into the Big 12 - like Memphis.
And buying works. Everyone likes being on the receiving end of the cash when the buying starts.
According to a source close to the situation, Memphis business leader FedEx is not only offering to sponsor the Big 12 football title game when it comes back in 2017.
FedEx is also willing to cover at least the first two years of the Tigers’ TV revenue share in the Big 12 (and because Memphis makes less than $3 million annually in TV revenue, FedEx’s payout to Memphis could be as little as $6 million for two years).
But by Memphis taking no cut of TV revenue the first two years in the Big 12, that would allow the current 10 schools to pocket all of the $40 million to $50 million the league’s TV partners - ESPN and Fox - would be obligated to pay Big 12 members the next two years for adding Memphis.
Without being able to say it publicly, the Big 12’s TV partners are hoping they wake up from what they think is a shakedown nightmare that forces them to overpay for inferior products.
But, hey, a contract’s a contract in the eyes of Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Oklahoma president David Boren, the chairman of the Big 12’s board of directors - made up of league presidents and chancellors.
Bowlsby and Boren have been unapologetic in their quest to maximize the Big 12’s Tier 1 & 2 TV contracts.
Those contracts call for ESPN and Fox to pay a full share of revenue - $20 million to $25 million per year - per school added.
“Either the TV partners are going to pay us not to expand - or we’re going to expand,” one source close to the situation told HornsDigest.com.
So with that said - here are the most likely scenarios to play out - I’m told - over the next two weeks:
#1 … The TV partners determine there is a dollar figure worth paying the Big 12 NOT to expand
That’s right - throw money at the money-grubbing members of the Big 12 to keep from having to pay the $800 million to $1 billion that ESPN and Fox could end up contractually obligated to pay over the next eight years if the Big 12 added four schools.
#2 … The Big 12 decides to expand by ...
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