Report: Big 12 reaches six-year, $2.28 billion media rights agreement
The Big 12 has its next media rights agreement in place.
According to Sports Business Journal’s Michael Smith and John Ourand, the Big 12 has reached an agreement with ESPN and FOX on a six-year deal worth a total of $2.28 billion — $380 million annually. The Big 12 has two years remaining on its current deal, which runs through the 2024-25 season at an annual average of $220M in its final years. The new six-year extension runs through 2030-31.
Whereas the Pac-12 allowed its exclusive negotiating windows with ESPN and FOX to lapse, enabling commissioner George Kliavkoff to take the league’s rights to the broader market (bringing streamers like Apple and Amazon to the table), Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark convinced the Big 12’s incumbent partners to enter negotiations early.
From Smith and Ourand’s reporting:
In striking these deals prior to the exclusive negotiating window with ESPN and Fox, the Big 12 managed to achieve several of its primary objectives, namely stability and security, the ability to go back to its 12 member schools to seek an extended grant of rights and a leg up on any future conference expansion. The conference also likes the idea that the shorter six-year deal that runs through 2031 means that the Big 12 will be back in the market ahead of both the SEC, whose deal with ESPN goes through 2034, and the ACC, whose ESPN deal expires in 2036.
The number being reported — an annual payout for each of the Big 12’s 12 members around $31.7 million — features media-only revenue. Still to be factored in are Tier 3 rights and payouts from the NCAA Tournament and College Football Playoff/bowls. The expectation is the annual number for each Big 12 school will climb closer to $50 million with everything included.
Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard suggested as much, saying that would feature an improvement from the $41 million earned this year. That’s with Oklahoma and Texas set to leave the conference.
Huge day for the future of @CycloneATH and @Big12Conference – with CFP and NCAA this will bring our annual Big 12 revenue to close to $50M per school, up from $41M this year. Congrats to @brettyormark for delivering in the clutch. https://t.co/L2XZoDjwB9
— Jamie Pollard (@IASTATEAD) October 30, 2022
According to SBJ, ESPN gets the top four football picks each season, six of the top eight picks, eight of the top 12 picks, and 12 of the top 20 picks. As part of the deal, ESPN also gets the rights to the Big 12 football championship game and the basketball tournament championship game. FOX’s package includes 26 football games per season that will run on FOX and FS1.
The Big 12 announced its intentions to engage with incumbent media partners on Aug. 31 and now has the framework of a deal before the Pac-12, despite the Pac-12 being in open market with its deal expiring at the end of next season.
All the attention now shifts to Kliavkoff, who said prior to the season he’s been warding off attempts by the Big 12 to destabilize the Pac-12 in the wake of USC and UCLA’s departure. The Big 12 has had interest in at least Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State for months. Does Sunday’s news change anything on that front?
Pac-12 insiders have suggested the league could fetch a similar number on its next agreement as the one the Big 12 has reportedly reached, but the Big 12 has some finality and clarity on that front whereas the Pac-12 is still searching for answers.
Kliavkoff — who is still trying to keep UCLA in the fold — said earlier this week he still expects to eventually catch up with the Big Ten and the SEC when it comes to media revenue.
“We’re going to do a media rights deal here in the near future which will close the gap between us and the Big Ten and the SEC,” he said. “That’s a first step (in strengthening the league). Eventually, we’ll catch those guys. It will take a couple of steps, but we’re going to take a step toward closing that gap. Then we’re going to be looking at expansion. We’re going to be looking at schools that make sense for us.”