The Big 12 Conference and FOX Sports announced a 13-year cable TV deal Wednesday that officials say will ensure the long-term stability of the league.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Sports Business Journal has reported that the contract, which starts with the 2012 football season, will pay the conference $90 million a year.
The Big 12 also has a deal with ABC-ESPN running through 2015-16 that would raise the conference’s total TV rights revenue to a reported $130 million annually.
Commissioner Dan Beebe said the FOX contract positions the 10-team league favorably with other major conferences.
The 12-team SEC generated $205 million from TV rights last year, and the 12-team Big Ten $220 million. The Pac-10, which becomes the Pac-12 this year, made only $60 million on TV rights but is working on a new television package that would include its own network.
The deal is a coup for Beebe, who pulled the league from the brink of extinction last June after the departures of Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12). Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton said the commitment the remaining 10 schools showed to each other last summer is being rewarded.
”Some did not believe us at that time,” Deaton said. ”Now, we have voted unanimously to endorse this agreement — a demonstration of the commitment we made.”
Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said the Big 12 has ”emerged united and robust and with tremendous forward momentum.”
Kansas State President Kirk Schulz called the TV package a historic step and Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said the contract validates why the league’s media partners encouraged the remaining schools to stay together.
”Through this agreement, the Big 12 institutions will generate per-member revenue at the highest levels of college athletics,” he said.
The 40 Big 12 regular-season games that will be carried by FOX nearly doubles the number under the current agreement. Many telecasts will be distributed on FSN, which reaches more than 85 million homes. Several other games will also be scheduled on FX, which is in 99 million households, the network said.
Every Big 12 home football game will be broadcast on ABC, a FOX network or by institutional platforms such as Texas’ new Longhorn Network. Big 12 schools will have the option to retain rights to one home football game per season for distribution on their own networks.
Beebe said FOX would decide which games to make available to individual school networks.
Texas and ESPN recently announced a 20-year, $300 million deal for a 24-hour network that will broadcast Longhorns sports, including at least one football game and eight basketball games per season, and other sports and academic content. Oklahoma is studying the possibility of creating its own network.
The new agreement gives FOX rights to online, mobile and wireless opportunities for its Big 12 content.
”This landmark agreement positions the conference with one of the best television arrangements in collegiate sports,” Beebe said. ”It exceeds the benchmarks as we move forward with our 10 members by providing significant revenue growth, increased exposure while allowing institutions to retain selected rights.
”Most importantly, the agreement signifies the long-term commitment of the member institutions to one another.”