Big 12 signs new media rights deal with ESPN, Fox worth 2.28 Billion



FILE – In this Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, file photo, a Big 12 Conference logo is displayed on a barrier at Amon G. Carter Stadium before Duquesne played TCU in an NCAA college football game in Fort Worth, Texas. The Big 12 has extended membership invitations to BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston to join the Power Five league. That comes in advance of the league losing Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins, File)

By Trevor Matthews, Staff Writer

The Big 12 conference has come to an agreement with ESPN and Fox Sports to renew its media rights deal, totaling 2.28 billion dollars over the next six years. The Big 12’s current deal, which is still in place for the next two years, is 220 million annually. This renewal will extend the contract through 2030-31 and bring up the annual average to 380M, according to the Sports Business Journal.


When Brett Yormark started his role as the Big 12 Conference commissioner on Aug. 1, he quickly set out ways to renew the deal that the Big 12 had with ESPN and Fox.

But one problem was the exclusive negotiating window for the Big 12 did not begin until February 2024. Yormark and the Big 12 were able to accomplish this task and get a deal done with Fox and ESPN in less than three months by telling networks the talks would not trigger the exclusive window. 

After news broke last year that Texas and Oklahoma would be leaving the conference, many thought it would be a long shot for the Big 12 to come together for a new deal, let alone one with a substantial raise. Many insiders forecasted the new deal would be half of the old deal. 

Some of the big takeaways from the deal were the Big 12’s ability to keep stability and security during a time of conference realignment, the ability to return to a 12-member school conference and the timing of when the contract rights are up. 

The Big 12 conference is keen on the idea of having a short-term six-year contract. This allows for the conference to be back in the market ahead of many of the other power 5 conferences. The Big 12 is set to be able to renew in 2031, whereas the SEC’s deal goes through 2034 and the ACC’s deal is set to expire in 2036. 

The Big 12 will add BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF next year. From Fox’s point of view, it sees these additions as a possibility to make the conference more balanced and a little deeper, even amidst the loss of Texas and Oklahoma.