Skip to main content

ESPN Reaches Multiyear Rights Extension With Big 12 Conference

ESPN has reached a 13-year extension on its rights agreement with the Big 12 Conference, which will run through the 2024-25 season.

Through 2015, ESPN will able to carry up to 19 conference-controlled football games, across its networks and platforms, including ESPN on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and LHN (for Texas games only). As a result, this year's TCU at Texas matchup will air on Thanksgiving at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN, going head-to-head against the NFL's Thanksgiving primetime game. Beginning in 2016, ESPN will be able to carry 23 conference-controlled football games.

As part of the deal, ESPN will share the football rights with Fox Sports
(it remains primary rights holder for men's basketball). For Fox, Friday's announcement is a modification of the 13-year deal reached with the Big 12 last year. 

The revamped deal includes:

  • An increase in the number of guaranteed full national football telecasts to a minimum of 25 per season on a combination of Fox, FX, ABC and ESPN.
  • Allows Fox over-the-air access to Big 12 football with a minimum of six games annually on its broadcast network.
  • Fox gains enhanced selections through 2015. ESPN and Fox share rotating game selections beginning in 2016.
  • All media, "TV everywhere" rights (ESPN also gains these).

For men's basketball, ESPN gains 10 additional games per year -- for a total of 105 games -- with 43 of games set to air on ESPN or ESPN2, including a minimum of 30 intra-conference matchups. ESPNU will carry up to 40 games, while its online/mobile network ESPN3 will air six of them. ESPN also retains its exclusive rights to the entire Big 12 Tournament, while ESPN Regional Television will continue to syndicate the Big 12 Network via local over-the-air stations.

The Big 12 will also continue to be featured on ESPN's "Big Monday" lineup.

"The Big 12 combines institutions known for excellence with passionate fan bases and rich traditions. This agreement gives us long-term stability, more games and more flexibility for when and how fans can see their favorite teams," said John Skipper, president, ESPN and co-chair, Disney Media Networks.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby added, "The stability of the Big 12 Conference is cemented. We are positioned with one of the best media rights arrangements in collegiate sports, providing the Conference and its members unprecedented revenue growth and sports programming over two networks."