SBD/February 25, 2013/Colleges

BYU Faces Issues In Potentially Joining Big 12 Including Sunday Games, Tier-3 Rights

BYU's refusal to play games on Sunday could be an issue for TV partners
Playing football games on Sundays “may not be an issue to the Big 12 Conference as a collective,” but it “could be to some of the member schools who see BYU's firm stance as an inconvenience not worth the cost of acquisition,” according to the DESERET NEWS' Ryan Teeples, who addressed BYU's inclusion in the BCS and the Big 12 conference in a fourt-part series. BYU "will never, under any circumstance, play a game on Sunday, and they won’t join a conference that doesn’t accommodate observance of Sunday as a day of worship.” The stance “could be an issue to TV partners who would whisper such concerns in the ears of member institutions.” ESPN “loves BYU, but that doesn’t mean that Fox, Comcast or whoever might be at the Big 12 TV negotiating table wouldn’t want a contract that offers Sabbath programming that’s not a devotional talk from the Marriott Center” (DESERETNEWS.com, 2/21). Teeples wrote, “Don’t discount the fact that some schools perceive BYU as a threat in the pecking order in the conference.” BYU’s TV market is “bigger than all but the Texas and Kansas schools” (DESERETNEWS.com, 2/21). Teeples noted another TV issue “involves so-called tier-3 rights.” These “oft misunderstood” rights are “broadcast rights to games which are passed up for airing by the top-tier broadcasting partners, in this case ABC/ESPN and Fox.” The Big 12 “due to the desire -- or threatening -- of Texas to have The Longhorn Network leaves its tier-3 rights up to the home team.” It is “natural to think this makes BYU a good fit since it’s essentially already monetizing its own tier-3 rights, but in this case BYUtv becomes an issue on the con side of the sheet for some Big 12 schools.” Some conference schools “look at BYU as a partner that’s another Texas (or Oklahoma) which won’t contribute to helping line their wallets with tier-3 TV programming and revenue” (DESERETNEWS.com, 2/21).
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