BIG 12 ANNOUNCES NEW MEDIA RIGHTS AGREEMENTS WITH ESPN & FOX SPORTS MEDIA GROUP
IRVING, TX – The Big 12 Conference announced it has reached agreement with ESPN and FOX Sports Media Group that extends and expands its partnerships with both media enterprises.
As part of the agreement both companies will jointly share the Conference’s football over-the-air and cable rights. ESPN continues as the primary rights holder of Big 12 men’s basketball, including the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship.
The new 13-year deal with ESPN begins with the upcoming 2012-13 season and runs through 2024-25, replacing the previous eight-year agreement that was scheduled to run through 2015-16. The new Big 12/ESPN contract now runs concurrently with the 13-year agreement between the Conference and FOX. That agreement, announced last spring, has been augmented to reflect the expansion of rights and platforms. A source confirmed to RattleandHumSports.com that the deal is worth $2.6 billion ($200 million per season). Each school is expected to receive $20 million per season.
“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.”
Highlights of the joint agreement include:
- An increase in the number of guaranteed full national football telecasts to a minimum of 25 per season on a combination of ABC, FOX, ESPN and FX.
- Allows FOX over-the-air access to Big 12 football with a minimum of six games annually on broadcast television.
- Allows ESPN cable access to Big 12 football for ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU
- Provides FOX with enhanced selections through 2015. ESPN and FOX share rotating game selections beginning in 2016.
- All media, “TV everywhere” rights to ESPN and FOX.
Beginning this season, every Big 12 home football 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.
RattleandHumSports Big 12 Insider Kevin Lonnquist was on the conference call on Friday and took away these noteworthy points:
- FOX will now televise some games on Saturdays — and Saturday nights — on its broadcast network. That’s not to be confused with FSN or FX. We’re talking the flagship.
- The first game on FOX will be Sept. 22, 2013 and in primetime. The game has not been selected.
- Big 12 athletic directors are meeting later this fall to craft future conference schedules. The 2012 schedule was the only one set.
- Every school but Texas Tech has approved the grant of rights. But it’s pretty much a formality. The grant of rights will be taken to their board of regents next week where it is expected to approved.
- On third-tier rights: Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said they don’t have to be the same through the 13 years. With the deal complete schools like Baylor can become more aggressive and creative in how they want to pursue their third-tier options.
- On TV games: A negotiated select process. It will vary from Fox and ESPN to make the first pick.
- Escalators for expansion are in the contract as well as a potential conference championship game
- On expanding the conference because of the result of the TV deal: Bowlsby said it will be envy of distributable revenue and round robin in football and double round robin in basketball so no one in the conference will leave and make it attractive. He said they have no active agenda for expansion at this time. A period of calm would be advantageous for the conference. They’ll continue to talk about expansion.
- FOX said it plans on announcing some deals with some individual schools including Oklahoma.
As for a conference championship game, the Big 12 is currently not eligible to host one because it has only 10 members. Bowlsby said even if they got to 12, he wasn’t sure if they would even do it because of their path toward the national championship. Of course, if money talks….