Big 12 Announces New Media Rights Agreements With ESPN & FOX Sports Media Group

TexasBusiness.com


Texas Business reports: The Big 12 Conference announced it has reached agreement with ESPN and FOX Sports Media Group that extends and expands its partnerships with both media enterprises.

As part of the agreement both companies will jointly share the Conference's football over-the-air and cable rights. ESPN continues as the primary rights holder of Big 12 men's basketball, including the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship.

The new 13-year deal with ESPN begins with the upcoming 2012-13 season and runs through 2024-25, replacing the previous eight-year agreement that was scheduled to run through 2015-16. The new Big 12/ESPN contract now runs concurrently with the 13-year agreement between the Conference and FOX. That agreement, announced last spring, has been augmented to reflect the expansion of rights and platforms.

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

Highlights of the joint agreement include:

An increase in the number of guaranteed full national football telecasts to a minimum of 25 per season on a combination of ABC, FOX, ESPN and FX.

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

Allows ESPN Cable Access to Big 12 Football for ESPN, ESPN2 & ESPNU.

Provides FOX with enhanced selections through 2015. ESPN and FOX share rotating game selections beginning in 2016.

All media, "TV everywhere" rights to ESPN and FOX.

"The Big 12 will generate per member television revenue at the highest level of college athletics, while increasing exposure for our programs, and continuing to provide for comprehensive institutional rights," commented Oklahoma State University president and Big 12 Conference board of directors chairman Burns Hargis. "The Conference is excited to build upon its long-standing relationships with both ESPN and FOX. I would also like to acknowledge the Board's executive committee for its fine work during this process."

 

Beginning this season, every Big 12 home football game will be carried on a combination of ESPN, FOX or institutional platforms. Big 12 schools will have the option to retain rights to one conference-controlled football game per season for distribution via permitted member institution outlets and third-party licensees, or can return the retained game back to FOX for broadcast. Institutions will also be permitted to retain a minimum of four men's basketball games a season. In all other sports, institutions will retain rights to all home contests not selected for air by ESPN or FOX.

 

"Today's announcement, coupled with the hiring of Bob Bowlsby as our league's new commissioner, is a great example of how well the Big 12 is positioned for the future," added University of Texas athletics director and chairman of the Big 12 Athletics Directors, DeLoss Dodds. "This contract ensures the Big 12 Conference will continue to be one of the premier conferences in the country."

 

"The Big 12 combines institutions known for excellence with passionate fan bases and rich traditions," commented ESPN president John Skipper. "This agreement gives us long-term stability, more games and more flexibility for when and how fans can see their favorite teams."

 

"We're very pleased to continue our long-running relationship with the Big 12, clearly one of the most successful and esteemed collegiate athletic conferences in America," said Randy Freer, Co-President & COO, FOX Sports Media Group. "This expanded partnership gives FSMG several Big 12 football games to showcase as part of our first-ever over-the air schedule on FOX, while also providing a substantial number of games for our other platforms. It's a win-win for everyone concerned."

 

Financial terms were not disclosed.

 

About the Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference is comprised of 10 Universities – Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12 is an NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics conference that encompasses five states with over 37 million people within its geographic footprint. During its 16-year history, the Conference has produced 531 academic all-america selections, claimed national championship team titles in 16 of its 23 sponsored sports, its student-athletes and teams have combined for 517 individual NCAA titles and 47 team national champions. More than 4,100 student-athletes from across the United States and around the World compete annually under the Big 12 banner.

 

About ESPN

ESPN, Inc., is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of eight 24-hour domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN 3D and the regionally focused Longhorn Network) and five HD simulcast services (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes). Other businesses include ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (48 networks, syndication, radio, websites, mobile, apps), ESPN Radio (broadcast, satellite, online and apps, a growing category led by ScoreCenter), ESPN.com (plus a variety of sport-, college-, and market-specific sites), ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPNHS and espnW. Multi-screen offerings include WatchESPN (access to several ESPN networks online and via an app) and ESPN3 (live multi-screen network available online, on the go and via Xbox LIVE). Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

 

About FOX Sports Media Group

FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) is the umbrella entity representing News Corporation's wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FSMG includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FSMG includes FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; Fox's 20 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; SPEED and SPEED2; FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go; FUEL TV; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports. In addition, FSMG also encompasses FOX Sports Interactive Media, which includes FOXSports.com on MSN, Whatifsports.com Scout.com and Yardbarker.com. Also included in the Group are Fox's interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network, BTN 2Go and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network and FOX Sports Skybox restaurants.

 

AGREEMENT FACTS

Terms  ♦  13-year agreement.

♦  2012-13 athletic season through 2024-25.

 

Finances          ♦  Combined with current revenue streams the Conference will provide annual average per institution television revenue at the highest level of college athletics.

♦  Coupled with FOX agreement signed in April 2011, provides a significant increase in the Conference's television rights.

 

Platforms         ♦  Big 12 events to be carried on various ESPN and FOX platforms including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, FOX, FX, FSN, Fox College Sports (FCS), and FOX Sports Digital Platforms.

 

Programming   ♦  No warehousing of rights.

♦  Institutions have option to retain rights to one home football game and a minimum of four men's basketball games per season for distribution via permitted member institution outlets and third-party licenses including the FSN Regional Networks and FOX College Sports.

♦  No exclusive telecast windows, except for ESPN men's basketball "Big Monday" and "Saturday College GameDay" telecasts featuring Big 12 teams.

 

Annual Football Coverage      ♦  Every Big 12 controlled football game.

♦  ABC/ESPN: 19 games per year thru 2015, increasing to 23 games annually in 2016 (minimum 13-15 full national exposures via ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or in combination with reverse mirror); maximum four-five games on ESPNU.

♦  FOX: Approximately 38 games with minimum of six contests annually on FOX broadcast and six games on a national cable outlet.

♦  Member Retained Game: One member-retained game, which must be carried on a FOX platform if returned.

♦  Television partners have a maximum four six-day picks between them per season.

♦  Minimum four Thursday games each season (including Labor Day weekend and Thanksgiving Day); and one Labor Day Sunday appearance.

♦  Maximum of four games scheduled for 8:15 p.m. local time starts per season with the following restrictions: no program required to play more than twice; host more than once; play consecutive weekends; and six-day pick only with Conference consent.

 

Annual Men's Basketball Coverage    ♦  ESPN to televise 100-105 games per season, with 43 games on ESPN or ESPN2 (or sublicense to ABC, CBS, FOX) including a minimum of 30 intra-conference games.

♦  Up to 40 games on ESPNU.

♦  Option to sublicense up to 20 games to another national cable outlet.

♦  Up to six games per season for live origination on ESPN3.

♦  Remaining games on broadcast syndication with Big 12 Network branding.

♦  Minimum four games each season retained for individual permitted member institution outlets.

♦  A collective minimum of 50 games per season designated for permitted member institution outlets and third-party licensees (any games returned to ESPN are subtracted from the 50-game threshold).

Exposure   

♦  FOX Sports Media Group platforms to carry a minimum of 40 non-football events annually

♦  Minimum of 31 women's basketball games per season on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or FSMG platforms.

♦  ESPN networks retain option for up to 25 additional women's basketball and/or other sports contests per season.

♦  Championship events, except men's basketball, on FSMG platforms.