SBD/16/Sports Media

BIG 12 TO HAVE CHAMPIONSHIP TILT AS ABC UPS ANTE

     Athletic directors from the Big 12 voted in favor of playing
an annual football championship with their first game scheduled
for December 7, 1996, at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis.  The
agreement still has to be ratified by the college presidents, but
is expected to pass with ease.  The deal was expedited by ABC,
which increased its bid from $2.5M to close to $4M, the amount it
spends on the SEC championship.  ABC "anticipates a blockbuster"
(Tom Wheatley, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/16).  In "exchange for
the increased rights fee, ABC, rather than the conference, will
take control of a title sponsor and the revenue it generates."  A
Big 12 source indicated the game could bring about $6.9M to the
conference or about $575,000 per school.  Although the ADs
recommend rotating sites, they tabled consideration of a second
site until their spring meeting citing many factors, including
uncertainty over ownership of the Astrodome (Jonathan Feigen,
HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/16).  The selection of St. Louis was
unanimous.  The city has pledged to sell out the 35,000 seats not
reserved for Big 12 schools and officials, and will stage a
Fanfest and other events around the game (ST. LOUIS POST-
DISPATCH, 11/16).
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