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Fox, ESPN Have Had ‘Meaningful Conversations’ on New TV Contract With Big 12 Conference

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970

The Big 12 Conference has had “meaningful conversations” with Fox and ESPN about a new television contract, Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said during an interview Wednesday in Manhattan.

“I’ve had meaningful conversations with ESPN and with Fox over the last 30 days about do we accelerate that, do we think about doing something now?” Yormark said.

The current contract runs through the end of the 2024 football season and has an exclusive negotiating window in February 2024.

“Those conversations are ongoing,” said Yormark, who took over this summer as Big 12 Commissioner after stints as an executive with NASCAR, the Brooklyn Nets and Roc Nation. “Whether we get to an early deal or not, I don’t know.”


He added: “If I can’t get a deal done with them, we’ll just wait until February ‘24, but we’ve had great conversations over the last 30 days. I think both realize the potential of this conference, they want to be partners as we build our brands and we’ll see whether we can get to an early extension or not.”

The Big 12 said in an August release that it would “be entering into discussions with its multi-media partners to explore an accelerated extension of its current agreements.”

As ESPN pointed out then, the expedited negotiations “allows the Big 12…to potentially get tangible future revenue numbers for both its member schools and potential additions.”

“I can tell you that from a TV perspective we’ll go up [in value],” Yormark said. “We’re not going backwards, we’re not staying flat. Whether we can get an early extension or not, we’re looking at increased numbers, which are indicative of the value of this conference and our members.”


The talks with ESPN and Fox come at a time when the Big 12 is positioning itself to compete with the latest moves made by the Big Ten and the SEC.

The Big Ten expects to add UCLA and USC in 2024, with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren saying Tuesday at the league’s basketball media day that a top priority was to “make sure we flawlessly integrate USC and UCLA into the Big Ten Conference.”

Warren also said the league could hold future postseason basketball tournaments “really anywhere across the country.”

The SEC, meantime, will add Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 in 2025.


The Big 12 countered a year ago with the planned additions of Houston, BYU, Cincinnati and UCF, expanding the league’s footprint from five states to eight. All four schools will join the league for the 2023-24 academic year, giving the Big 12 14 schools for the next two years and then 12 beginning in 2025, Yormark said.

“For the next two years, it will be great and then [Texas and Oklahoma] will leave,” Yormark said. “We just keep going on, keep building what we’re building.”

Yormark has maintained he’s open to further expansion going forward if it makes sense. The Big 12 has been linked to Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado.

“If it’s additive, we’ll pursue it,” he said. “I look at every opportunity and possibility and where is it additive and how can it create value, whether it’s on the business side, whether it’s expansion, whether it’s the brand, whatever it is.”


He added: “And when you think of expansion, it’s gotta be the right cultural fit. We are as aligned as I think this conference has ever been.”

Baylor coach Scott Drew said even after Texas and Oklahoma leave, the Big 12 — which has won the last two NCAA championships (Kansas in 2022, Baylor in ‘21) — will still have the top-rated conference, per analytics.

“We will still be the best league with the new teams coming in and with Texas and OU when they do leave, so we’re excited because you’re adding quality teams that make us better and obviously expand our footprint,” Drew said.


As for the location of future Big 12 tournaments, Drew joked that his kids want it to be at Disney World. The league is committed to Kansas City through 2025, but Yormark said he’s open to other opportunities.

“Everything is on the table,” he said, noting that the ACC and Atlantic 10 both hold their postseason tournaments at Barclays Center.

The Big 12 likely won’t catch the SEC or the Big Ten in revenue, but Yormark says he’s focused on solidifying and strengthening the conference’s brand.

He’s made several key hires, including appointing Scott Draper as Vice President for Football, after he served in a similar position with the American Athletic Conference

“I’m less worried about [the Big Ten and SEC] than I am about reaching our fullest potential as a conference and doing the things that I think we need to do in order to be viable,” Yormark said. “But not just viable, to be successful.”



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