Big 12 Basketball

Big 12 TV Deal Gives FOX Access to Basketball for First Time

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Championship-Iowa State vs West Virginia

The Big 12’s new television extension with ESPN and Fox features a new wrinkle for the league, as its basketball inventory will be available to Fox for the first time.

John Ourand and Michael Smith of the Sports Business Journal, who first reported the agreement, detailed what ESPN and Fox will get for $2.28 billion, an annual average of $380 million per year of the six-year contract, which ends in 2030-31.

The primary components of the deal are for football and men’s basketball. ESPN and Fox have shared football inventory for years, but there is a pecking order to that inventory. Ourand and Smith outlined the particulars in his piece breaking down the deal.


The ‘A’ package, which deals with football, allows ESPN to make the top four football picks each season, six of the top eight picks, eight of the top 12 picks and 12 of the top 20 picks. ESPN will also broadcast both the Big 12 Championship game for football and the Big 12 Championship game for basketball, both of which the network currently does.

As for Fox, the network will get 26 football games per season, which can be shown on either Fox or FS1. The network would get the other eight of the Top 20 selections.

Big 12 basketball has been a near-exclusive ESPN property for years, with Fox only getting access to games when a Big 12 team is visiting a BIG EAST team (Fox currently has the primary rights to BIG EAST basketball). This deal allows Fox to tap into the Big 12’s basketball inventory. But the report didn’t into specifics in terms of the number of games and whether the deal was primarily for just men’s games, or if women’s games were included, too.


Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark made it clear what he wanted out of a TV partnership when he spoke to the media last week in Kansas City during Big 12 basketball media days.

“We have a great partnership with both (ESPN and Fox), Yormark said. “But everyone needs to step up their game. More marketing, more promotion, more support of our student-athletes in all the right ways. Storytelling. Economics matter, though. But it’s those fringe benefits that you know, make a deal or don’t make a deal. But we’re getting to a pretty good place.”

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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