Big 12 exploring media rights extension. What does it mean for OU?

·4 min read

With their media rights deal still good through the 2024 football season, the Big 12 is reportedly starting conversations with ESPN and Fox to extend their contract, according to a release from the Big 12.

“The Big 12 Conference announces it will be entering into discussions with its multi-media partners to explore an accelerated extension of its current agreements,” the statement read.

“It is an exciting time for college athletics and given the changing landscape we welcome the opportunity to engage with our partners to determine if an early extension is in the best interest of all parties,” said Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark.  “The Big 12 has enjoyed a fantastic relationship with its multi-media rights holders, and I look forward to having these conversations.”

This is the answer to the Pac-12 entering early an early negotiating window back i. July to solidify the leagues future. After USC and UCLA jumped to the Big Ten, the Pac-12 went to the table to secure their media rights future.

With no media rights deal between the Pac-12 and the networks, the Big 12 is looking to position itself as the next major conference behind the SEC and the Big Ten.

With the OU and Texas move coming in the near future, securing more money for the conference is good business. But

So what does this mean? Well, there’s a lot that isn’t known at this point, and ESPN released a statement stating, “we have not opened the contractual negotiation window with the Big 12 at this time.”

Pete Thamel of ESPN wrote earlier today, “Sources had previously told ESPN that the two networks had agreed to the talks.

“There is no formal window on these conversations between the Big 12 and ESPN and Fox, which are expected to begin soon,” Thamel wrote. “If no deal is reached, the conference can still secure a deal through a more traditional timeline.”

If negotiations do officially start, there will definitely be two be items on the agenda:

  1. Oklahoma and Texas moving to the SEC and when they will make the move.

  2. The ongoing battle with the Pac-12.

Ever since Big 12 commisioner Brett Yormak proclaimed that the Big 12 was “open for buisiness” the world of college athletics has been waiting to see what happens with the Pac-12’s remaining programs. If the Big 12 manages to land a deal more lucrative than the Pac-12’s, that may be the ammunition to lure away teams from out west.

Getting a new deal done before the Pac-12 gives the Big 12 an advantage moving forward. They haven’t exactly been leaving the remaining Pac-12 teams alone.

Losing four or more of their remaining members would be a death blow to the conference.

The OU-Texas move to the SEC has also been discussed. While we have never believed that the Sooners and Longhorns will stay out of the SEC until 2025, that has consistently been the date that has been reported.

However, these new extension talks may open the door for the early exit that both sides may want.

ESPN will take over as the media rights holder of the SEC in 2024. They also just lost out on the Big Ten. If they want OU and Texas in the SEC early, they will get them there.

One thing that could hold up a new deal between the Big 12 and Fox is how Fox views the league without Oklahoma and Texas. Fox’s current media rights deal with the Big 12 was negotiated with OU and Texas in mind. If those two want to leave early, what will Fox want to make a new deal work?

Conference realignment never ends, but at some point there will be a resolution that has Oklahoma and Texas in the SEC before the end of the Big 12’s current media rights package.

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