College Football
Big 12 reportedly considering private equity, naming rights deals
College Football

Big 12 reportedly considering private equity, naming rights deals

Published Jun. 13, 2024 3:09 p.m. ET

The Big 12 Conference may not bear that name for much longer.

The conference is looking to increase its financial standing through a significant private equity investment worth as much as $1 billion, and is also looking to sell naming rights to a title sponsor in a deal that could bring in as much as $50 million annually, per multiple reports.

CBS Sports first reported the private equity discussions, while Yahoo! Sports first reported the naming rights talks.

Per Yahoo!, the Big 12 is already in deep discussions with insurance giant Allstate, which has a long history of college football sponsorships. Instead of simply adding Allstate to the beginning of the conference's name the way bowl game naming rights are typically structured, however, Allstate will reportedly replace either "Big" or "12" in the conference's initial name, which would change to either "Allstate 12" or "Big Allstate" per the Action Network.


The concept was formally introduced to league administrators by commissioner Brett Yormark two weeks ago. Any change would need approval from the presidents and chancellors of the conference's members.

The Big 12 is set to expand to 16 teams next year as it adds four teams from the defunct Pac-12, including returner Colorado and newcomers Arizona, Arizona State and Utah. It recently added BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston while losing Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC.

Yormark is also reportedly spearheading the private equity discussions, per CBS Sports. The conference reportedly is in discussions with Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners to sell off a stake worth 15-20% of the conference for $800 million to $1 billion. As Yahoo! Sports noted, Yormark has publicly signaled openness to private equity in college sports before, calling it a "validation of where this industry is going and the growth."

But Yormark would also need approval from those in charge of the Big 12's member schools before authorizing such a sale, and several of those leaders need further convincing, CBS reported.

No conference has ever authorized a naming rights sponsorship deal or private equity investment in modern history. However, several schools and conferences are looking at new revenue streams as a landmark court settlement last month is set to pave the way for college athletes to receive direct payment from their schools rather than through name-image-likeness deals with donor collectives.

Big 12 schools currently earn $31.7 million annually through media rights partners, one of which is FOX Sports.

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