Big 12 agrees to 13-year media rights deal

Alex Halsted

The Big 12 Conference confirmed its newly found stability Friday, Sept. 7, as it announced it has agreed to a 13-year media rights deal that will be worth a reported $2.6 billion.

The deal, which is with ABC/ESPN and FOX, reportedly will pay the conference an average of $200 million per year and run through the 2024-25 school year. That money will be divided equally amongst the Big 12 institutions, paying each school $20 million per year.

“The stability of the Big 12 Conference is cemented,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a news 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.”

Aside from the money, the big agreement which the Big 12’s board of directors voted to approve Friday morning is a grant of rights. The grant of rights assures the conference that if any institution leaves within the next 13 years, their media rights and all revenue would remain with the Big 12 and not their new conference.

ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard said the new media rights deal shows the conference’s stability, adding it will allow Iowa State to continue to grow. 

“The new TV deal is another very public symbol of the strength and solidarity of the Big 12 Conference,” Pollard said. “The contract will assist us in our mission of continuing to improve our overall athletics program in a sound and financially sustainable manner.”

In recent years, the athletic department has already invested $33.6 million in a new football training facility and the Cyclone Sports Complex, both of which are expected to open this fall. 

With the agreement, the Big 12 joins both the Pac-12 and Big Ten as the only conferences to have grant of rights agreements and is on-par with each conference when it comes to distributed revenue per school.

Under the new media rights deal, ABC/ESPN and FOX will both broadcast Big 12 football while ABC/ESPN will have exclusive rights to the conference’s men’s basketball broadcasts.

This agreement replaces the old media rights deal the Big 12 had, which was slated to run through the 2015-16 school year.

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