ESPN CLOSING DEALS WITH BOTH THE BIG 12 AND THE WAC
ESPN and the Big 12 have reached a multi-year agreement that
gives ESPN, ESPN2, and Creative Sports exclusive rights to all
men's basketball games for five years. The agreement calls for
the Big 12 to be televised on ESPN's Big Monday during conference
play from January to March, additional non-conference and
conference appearances on ESPN and ESPN2, and primetime and
weekend afternoon games syndicated by Creative Sports. ESPN and
Creative Sports also hold the rights to the Big 12 tournament.
The Big 12 begins play in '96 when Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and
Texas Tech join Big Eight schools Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State,
Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
(ESPN). CBS has "expressed an interest" in televising the Big 12
championship (Steve Richardson, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/13).
REALLY BIG MONDAY? The WAC and ESPN are "close" to
finalizing a new basketball TV package, with money reportedly
"all that stands in the way" of a deal. The WAC would reportedly
join Big Monday and receive selected prime-time exposures on
Thursday and Saturday. Also included is a six-game women's
schedule on ESPN. WAC Commissioner Karl Benson: "It's a good
package. It addresses our need for increased exposure and it
provides a national outlet for our women's programs" (Joe Baird,
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 4/13).