Oklahoma athletics announces new media rights agreement with ESPN+
May 5—A big change is coming for University of Oklahoma sports programming.
The Sooners and ESPN announced a multi-year agreement Thursday that will bring a significant portion of OU sports to the network's digital platform, ESPN+. The new agreement gives ESPN the Sooners' third-tier media rights and moves OU sports content away from cable programming to internet streaming.
Beginning in August, the ESPN+ app will include more than 100 annual live OU sporting events via a landing page called SoonerVision on ESPN+, including men's and women's basketball, gymnastics, softball and other varsity Olympic sports. It will also include studio programming such as coaches shows, archival content, pregame shows and pro days.
SoonerVision on ESPN+ will also stream one regular season college football game a year that was previously only accessible through pay-per-view. It will also air the Sooners' annual spring game.
While ESPN+ has aired Big 12 programming via Big 12 Now since 2019 — one football game from each of the conference schools, not including OU and Texas, is streamed on the platform each year — Oklahoma has had an agreement with Bally Sports (formerly FOX Sports) since 2012 and has only been featured on the platform as a road team.
"Given the overwhelming size and passion of the Sooners fan base, we are thrilled that ESPN+ is partnering with Oklahoma to create SoonerVision on ESPN+, the most expansive agreement ESPN+ has with an individual university athletics program," OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said "in a release. "SoonerVision on ESPN+ builds upon our previous media successes by offering over 1,000 hours annually of live OU sports events and other programming to ESPN+'s growing subscriber base of more than 21.3 million. As a result, OU fans will now have an easily accessible year-round media home on all their screens."
The Sooners' agreement with Bally Sports expires June 30, and their new agreement with ESPN+ will begin shortly after. The financial details of the agreement are unclear but it's viable as long as OU remains in the Big 12.
Oklahoma, along with Texas, is contractually obligated to stay in the Big 12 through 2024-2025 before moving to the Southeastern conference. The Sooners could negotiate an earlier exit, though they've publicly affirmed their commitment to remaining in the conference through 2025.
Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for $6.99 per month. For more information, visit www.ESPN.com or www.ESPNplus.com.
Jesse Crittenden is the sports editor of The Transcript and covers OU athletics. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 405-366-3580