Big 12 Formally Announces New $2.6B TV Rights Deals With ESPN, Fox
The Big 12 Friday formally announced its new media rights deals, six months after the conference reached an agreement on the broad terms of the deals. ESPN and Fox Sports agreed to pay $2.6B over 13 years ($200M per year) for a broad swath of media rights. Each Big 12 school will average around $20M a year. By comparison, schools in the Pac-12, which also partnered with ESPN and Fox, will average nearly $21M per school. ESPN and Fox will share the Big 12's football rights, and ESPN will control its basketball rights, starting with the '12-13 season. Overall, at least 25 Big 12 football games will be available on a national TV platform (ABC, ESPN, Fox or FX). As part of the deal, ESPN will have rights to up to 23 football games. Fox will pick up the rights to at least six football games for its broadcast channel. Big 12 schools can retain rights to one home football game and four men's basketball games. The deal runs through the '24-25 season (Ourand & Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).
THIRSTY FOR THURSDAY: In Birmingham, Jon Solomon wondered whether there could be "more Thursday games for the SEC" on ESPN. The conference's contract with ESPN "requires two Thursday night games each season, although that doesn't always happen." Stadium locations, parking concerns and "disruption to classes and fans are reasons some SEC schools avoid Thursday nights." There is some "incentive for the SEC, which has been in talks with ESPN to create an SEC channel." SEC consultant Larry Templeton said, "I would hope that we have a conversation, which we haven't yet, that everybody plays a game on Thursday night during the (next scheduling) cycle." Templeton added that the league is "trying to put together a four- or five-year cycle with actual playing dates and a rotation for opponents through 2024 or 2025." Templeton: "It could become a highly-viewed (TV) window, particularly in an exclusive window." Solomon noted the conference is "eyeing the Thanksgiving time slot in the future on ESPN to replace Texas-Texas A&M, which got scrapped when the Aggies left the Big 12." The annual LSU-Texas A&M matchup has "surfaced publicly as one possibility" (AL.com, 9/6).