Bloomberg News

Big 12 Conference Signs TV Contract With ESPN, Fox Through 2025

September 07, 2012

The Big 12 Conference signed an agreement with Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN and New Corp.’s Fox Sports Media Group to televise its football and basketball games through the 2024-2025 season, the conference said in a press release.

As part of the 13-year agreement, ABC/ESPN will share the conference’s football over-the-air and cable rights with Fox, but will remain the primary rights holder of Big 12 men’s basketball, including the Big 12 men’s tournament.

The agreement will pay the conference $2.6 billion, ESPN.com (DIS:US) reported without citing its sources. That amounts to about $20 million for each school every year.

The television announcement comes after a tumultuous year in which it wasn’t clear whether the Big 12 would survive. Texas A&M and Missouri left, following Nebraska’s and Colorado’s departures a year earlier. The Pac-12 unsuccessfully courted Texas and Oklahoma. The Big 12 lured Texas Christian University and West Virginia to join, bringing membership to 10.

“The stability of the Big 12 Conference is cemented,” Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a press release. “We are positioned with one of the best media rights arrangements in collegiate sports, providing the Conference and its members unprecedented revenue growth, and sports programming over two networks.”

The ABC/ESPN agreement, which begins this fall, replaces the previous eight-year agreement that would have run through 2015-2016. It runs concurrently with the 13-year agreement the Big 12 Conference signed with Fox (NWSA:US) last spring, the conference said.

The cable network said the Big 12’s per-year average is slightly less than the Pac-12 Conference’s $21 million per- school media rights deal and on par with the Big Ten’s per- school average.

Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda didn’t immediately return messages left at his office.

The agreement includes an increase in the number of guaranteed national football telecasts to a minimum of 25 per season on a combination of ABC, Fox, ESPN and FX.

It allows Fox over-the-air access to Big 12 football with a minimum of six games annually on broadcast television.

And it allows ESPN cable access to Big 12 football for ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

The Big 12 Conference, based in Irving, Texas, is comprised of 10 schools, including: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian University, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

“The Big 12 will generate per member television revenue at the highest level of college athletics, while increasing exposure for our programs,” Oklahoma State University President and Big 12 Conference board of directors chairman Burns Hargis said in a press release. “The conference is excited to build upon its longstanding relationships with both ESPN and Fox.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at ceichelberge@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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