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Report: Big 12 Strikes New Media Rights Deal with ESPN, Fox Sports



The Big 12’s mission to stabilize itself in the midst of conference realignment in college football just took a major leap in the right direction. The conference has officially landed a new media rights agreement with ESPN and Fox Sports, according to a report by John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal.

This deal, which was reported as breaking news Sunday morning, is for 6 years and believed to be worth a total of $2.28B. That equates to an annual average of $380M. The Big 12’s relationship with the two major sports networks will now extend through the 2030-2031 athletic seasons. There are two years remaining on the conference’s current deal with both ESPN and Fox Sports, which runs through the 2024-25 season at an annual average of $220M in its final years.

Being able to land a new deal at such an increase in value is a big win for a conference that many were predicting would not be able to last after the announced departures of its top brand programs. Now regardless of losing Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC, the Big 12 has ensured itself it will still, not only be around for the foreseeable future, but thrive in a climate that is driven by revenue and what money can be generated.

The other angle to this news for the Big 12 is that the conference struck this new deal before the Pac 12 could come to terms on extending a media agreement of their own. The two “Power 5” conferences have been at the center of realignment talk due to suffering cosmic shifts in membership. Much like the Big 12, the Pac 12 will also lose two programs that have been conference mainstays throughout its history when USC and UCLA bolt for the Big Ten. Once that occurs, the viability of the Pac 12 might be viewed in a completely different light if the conference does not either add new members or extend their media deal. There have even been rumors of other programs seeking refuge in another conference.

And on the member front, the Big 12 is looking like a winner there too. The Big 12 is set to add Cincinnati, UCF, BYU and Houston. Conversely, it is unclear which teams will remain in the Pac 12 long term. There have even been rumors and reports to suggest the Big 12 may look to expand further by looking to Pac 12 schools, especially if the Big Ten decides to increase its number of teams.

At the end of the day, the Big 12 maintaining its partnership with ESPN and Fox Sports, and doing so in a new contract that will be extremely lucrative for the conference and its members is a big win for commissioner Brett Yormark, who has always made his mission of keeping the conference as a major player in the land of college sports known.

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