The Big 12 has found a familiar TV partner for the league’s football championship in 2019, 2021 and 2023.
ESPN, which already owned the rights for the even-numbered years through 2024, has reached a deal to carry the odd years.
That means ESPN or ABC will exclusively televise the Big 12 football championship through 2024.
But those marquee games were part of a broader TV package announced by the Big 12 and ESPN on Wednesday. A wealth of Big 12 events, ranging from football to basketball to non-revenue sports, will now be part of ESPN+, a streaming subscription platform for ESPN, starting in the 2019-20 athletic season.
TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati raved about the conference’s expanded rights deal with ESPN.
“This announcement is incredibly exciting for each of the member institutions and their respective constituents,” Donati said in a statement. “Not only does it demonstrate that our leadership is focused on being ahead of the industry trend, it sends a strong statement about the long term viability of the conference as a whole.”
Sports Business Journal reported that sources indicated the Big 12 will receive $22 million annually from its new online and broadcast arrangement with ESPN.
The agreement will bring “hundreds” of Big 12 events to ESPN+, although Texas and Oklahoma are not part of it due to “existing long-term rights deals.”
Texas is contractually obligated to air 200 Texas events on Longhorn Network, an ESPN-owned network, through June 2031. Oklahoma sold its third-party TV rights to FOX.
A news release stated that Texas and Oklahoma “will be featured as road teams in games listed under the new Big 12-branded offering on the service.”
Starting next season, there will be games from Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech will join the lineup in 2020-21.
“Our institutions are thrilled with the exposure all 10 athletics programs will receive through this Big 12-branded offering,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “Our goal was to be forward thinking in the use of technology to create a conference-branded platform and believe this partnership ideally positions the Big 12 now and into the foreseeable future.”