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Volume 25 No. 153
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ESPN, Big 12 Agree To Sweeping Media-Rights Deal

Photo: GETTY IMAGES

ESPN signed a sweeping media-rights deal with the Big 12 that will see ABC or ESPN carry every football championship game through ’24 and will launch a Big 12-branded area on ESPN+. In the new deal, which includes three championship games and ESPN+ rights, ESPN will pay a total of around $40M. When this agreement is added to the current media-rights deal that still has six years to run, the conference will average $22M per year, sources said. A formal announcement is expected later today.

As part of the deal, ESPN picked up the rights to three football championship games in ’19, ’21 and ’23 that Fox had declined to buy. The conference had been trying to find a media company to pay in the high teens for those games. It will appear on either ABC or ESPN depending on scheduling.

Every deal ESPN has cut recently has included a significant ESPN+ component, and this one is no different. Hundreds of events from all sports will be offered on ESPN+ under a Big 12 brand. Eight of the 10 schools will provide more than 50 exclusive events per year, including at least one football game, any spring football game and any basketball game that is not on an ESPN linear network. Texas, which has Longhorn Network, and Oklahoma, which has its own local rights deal, will not provide content to ESPN+. However, both schools will be featured on the streaming service when they are an away team and during conference championships outside of football and basketball.

Starting in '19, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State will provide games for ESPN+. The following year, Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech will participate.