The Argument Supporting Big 12 Football Games in Mexico
The news broke on Monday night that the Big 12 Conference has been actively exploring playing basketball and football games in Mexico starting for the 2024-25 season for hoops and the 2025 season for football.
At first glance, the move didn’t make much sense to me. I love college atmospheres and what the on-campus experience brings that makes college football, in particular, the most unique and exciting sport in the country. However, after 24 hours to digest the news, I’ve come around on the idea that this makes an enormous amount of sense for this conference and its future.
Short-Term Loss, Long-Term Gain
I’ve always been a proponent of college football games being on campus. It’s best for the fans, the small businesses that rely on these handful of Saturdays each fall to meet revenue goals and the entire community. However, if we look at this from a bigger picture perspective, it’s not about hurting the fans or businesses in our Big 12 communities, it’s about maintaining what we have long past a Saturday in September of 2023, October of 2024 or November of 2025. This is about maintaining the Big 12 Conference as a powerhouse, Top 3 conference, behind the SEC and Big Ten, for years to come.
And if that means playing a Big 12 football game (or more?) per season in Mexico, then so be it. While we don’t have any details on how frequent games would be played, it seems unlikely a team would lose more than one home game every few years, if that.
Is that worth the chance for the Big 12 to solidify itself, its brand, its future and the big check ESPN and FOX are cutting for this league? It seems like a no-brainer. New eyeballs, made-for-TV events will help the Big 12 create the buzz it needs to make to cut through the noise of the busy sports landscape and maintain its value to the TV networks.
The NFL Model
We’ve seen professional sports do this with huge success, most notably the NFL, who is now playing at least one regular season games in different parts of the world every season. As a mentor once told me, don’t overcomplicate life, just follow the qualities and traits of successful people and organizations, and duplicate that to the best of your ability.
The NFL doesn’t do much wrong. They are the most popular sport in the country, by a mile, and continue to expand their international presence. Brett Yormark sees that and must think, “Why not the Big 12 on the college level?”
I understand Baylor football is not the Dallas Cowboys, but it doesn’t need to be, and won’t be, on the same scale of the NFL. It just needs to work, and make sense, for the Big 12 and its own growth into the international market. Plus, with Texas sharing the biggest border with Mexico, the Mexican culture being prevalent across parts of Texas, and the Big 12 being the conference with the most Power 5 schools from Texas in the league, it’s a natural fit.
In Yormark We Trust
Even if you vehemently disagree with the move, if you’re a Big 12 fan, Brett Yormark deserves the benefit of the doubt, until proven otherwise. He’s undoubtedly done an incredible job in less than one year on the job as commissioner of the conference. From cutting in line to land a TV deal ahead of the Pac-12 to getting summer camps at Rucker Park, Yormark has pushed nearly all the right buttons so far.
This doesn’t mean he walks on water and every move he makes is going to strike gold, but his resume thus far, and how it’s benefited this conference and solidified its future, means we need to let this one play out, and, “Trust in Yormark” or “Believe in Brett”.
Whichever phrase you want to use, that’s up to you.