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BIG 12 TO HAVE CHAMPIONSHIP TILT AS ABC UPS ANTE
Published November 16, 1995
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).