In the battle for conference stability between the Big 12 and Pac 12, it now appears the Big 12 may have a big advantage.
According to a report from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the Big 12 is nearing a new media rights deal with both partners FOX and ESPN. If this report is true, this deal could be announced in the coming weeks. The conference’s current deal with the networks expires after the 2024-2025 academic year. Big 12 schools are receiving $43 million annually in the deal in place.
Another angle to this would be that the Big 12 would have found a new deal before the Pac 12, which would then certainly support the Big 12 in any debate over which current Power 5 conference will be more viable moving forward.
Sources: @Big12Conference may have a new deal with Fox and ESPN in as little as weeks. The significance is that the Big 12 could reach agreement on a new deal ahead of the @pac12 which is currently on the open market. https://t.co/fHVPPOp4QY
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) October 20, 2022
These conferences have both found themselves in a fight to ensure they can continue on under the label of a “major” conference and have success for decades to come. Questions have surrounded both conference, each with a long-standing history in college sports, in particular football, respectively, due to each conference losing their biggest brand name programs. Big 12 mainstays Oklahoma and Texas are leaving for the SEC as soon as possible while USC and UCLA are Big Ten bound.
Whichever conference can secure a media rights deal with a prominent national network or networks (like ESPN or FOX), would have an edge on the other in attractiveness as a whole. Separately, this could also show which conference is being more proactive in terms of retaining its current members and adding new programs.
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.
How the actual media deal shakes out will be the most important thing, but existing Big 12 teams like West Virginia should be pleased about this news.
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