Big 12, Fox Sports Reach 13-Year TV Deal For Football

April 14, 2011 / Football

The Big 12 Conference, on the verge of disintegration less than a year ago, announced on Wednesday a 13-year deal with Fox Sports Media Group to televise 40 football games beginning in 2012.

Financial terms of the deal for the conference’s cable rights were not revealed, though the Sports Business Journal reported that it could be as high as $90 million a year.

Under its current agreement with the Big 12, Fox pays $20 million per year to televise about half as many football games as the new deal allows.

“This puts the conference in a great place, not just a good place,” University of Texas men’s athletic director DeLoss Dodds said. “They’re ecstatic.”

As part of the deal, each Big 12 school can retain the TV rights to one football game a season that can be aired on an institutional network. Texas’ Longhorn Network with ESPN will debut in August. Oklahoma has been looking into creating its own network as well, and the remaining eight Big 12 schools have discussed combining for a conference network.

Dodds, however, said Wednesday that the Big 12’s agreement with Fox didn’t absolutely rule out the possibility of the Longhorn Network getting a second Texas football game if the proper deal could be struck.

The Big 12 already has a network agreement with ABC/ESPN that’s worth $480 million over eight years. It runs through the 2015-16 school year. Revenues are split between 10 teams, since Colorado and Nebraska defected from the Big 12 last summer for the Pac-10 and Big Ten, respectively.

Fox Sports Net (FSNSW locally), which reaches more than 85 million homes, will carry most of Fox’s Big 12 football games. Others will air on FX, which is in 99 million households.

Fox’s agreement with the Big 12 also includes rights to a variety of non-revenue sports and conference championships. The deal also means that, beginning with the 2012 season, every home football game for a Big 12 school will be televised in some fashion, either by ABC, ESPN, Fox or a school’s own network.

And with the 2011 NFL season in jeopardy because of labor problems, there has been some speculation that college teams could end up playing some Sunday games too.

Dodds, however, doesn’t think so.

“I don’t think anybody has any interest in doing that,” he said. “I don’t. We’re Saturday.”

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