“Open for business”: New commissioner kicks off Big 12 media days


Photo Courtesy of the Big 12 Conference

New Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark. 

Christian Royston

As the lights brightened up the press conference stage in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the world got the first look at the new Big 12 commissioner as he waited for his turn to speak.

One topic of conversation would weigh on the minds of reporters in attendance and fans watching at home. The future of the Big 12.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby kicked off the Big 12 Media Days with a short address to the public. He recapped the last year of success and his time in the commissioner’s chair.

In a short few minutes, it would be time to introduce the man taking over his position; Brett Yormark. Before that happened, Bowlsby had to set the stage one last time.

With expansion talks flooding the new’s cycles and the Big 12 realignment just one year away, a new landscape was being created in front of their eyes. With the Pac-12 moving teams to bigger conferences, the hard work of a conference commissioner was just getting started.

“Indeed, the seismic shifts are continuing in collegiate athletics,” Bowlsby said.

A great foreshadow of what was to come, as Yormark’s time to shine was at hand.

Yormark made it clear in his opening statement that he always had a passion for college athletics. It was always on the horizon for his future. Although, he mentioned he thought he would likely be an athletics director, not the commissioner for the Big 12.

Yormark is ready for the challenge and to make an impact in the collegiate sports world. This eagerness to get started would be met with a tough first month on the job.

Only a few days after he accepted the commissioner position, the Big Ten announced their recent additions. Without any breathing room, it was time for Yormark to be proactive in his role, which he made clear during the media day Wednesday.

“There is no doubt the Big 12 is open for business,” Yormark said. “We will leave no stone unturned.”

This phrase, “open for business,” would come up constantly in his time talking with the press. With phone calls pouring in from interested colleges and realignment talks flooding his newsfeed, it’s clear to Yormark that the Big 12 is indeed open for business.

Although the interest is high, Yormark worries about the near future and the work that needs to be done. Yormark said he was reviewing options for the Big 12, but right now, upcoming media negotiations take precedent.

To set the Big 12 up for success, Yormark said he wants to do two things: create value and build the Big 12s brand.

Building the brand and, more importantly, rebuilding the brand will be a priority for the new commissioner. With his time at ROC Nation, Yormark gained experience in many aspects of business.

One side of business that he wants to bring to the Big 12 is staying relevant. Yormark kept bringing up the idea of making the Big 12 “younger, hipper, cooler.”

This can be done through social media and branding. Yormark talked a lot about allowing social media to create stories for the Big 12. It will play a large role in bringing awareness to the conference and keeping fans engaged.

Throughout the years Yormark spent at ROC Nation and the Brooklyn Nets, he developed creativity and an idea-oriented approach to finding success. Now, he plans to use those ideas and creativity to set the Big 12 up for success for many years to come.

It was clear watching Yormark talk about the future and how excited he was about the position that the Big 12 is in good hands was clear. Yormark is driven and is ready to put in the gritty work that needs to be done.

Although Yormark doesn’t officially start until August 1, he is already very active, involved in talks with shareholders, and has been planning for weeks. Along with all the plans for meetings and negotiations, he also plans to take a “listening” tour to all the schools in the conference.

Yormark is actively looking to learn what issues the schools face and wants to put himself in a better position to help the conference succeed. He has been in contact with all the football coaches, but a listening tour will help him get more acquainted with the atmosphere at each school.

The last piece of information that Yormark provided was on the lighter side. To finish off the press conference and take a break from all the business talk, Yormark fielded a question about anything interesting about him that fans should know.

Music has always been a huge influence in his life, so it makes sense that Yormark used to be a drummer in a band with his twin brother, who happens to be the CEO of the Europe division of ROC Nation.

As Wednesday’s media day concluded, fans could take a sigh of relief knowing how dedicated Yormark is and how comfortable he already looks in his new role. As Thursday presented a new media day, Cyclone fans were in for a treat as football head coach Matt Campbell took the stage to discuss Iowa State’s path to success in the upcoming season.