ARLINGTON, Texas — Last month, the Big 12 announced “Big 12 Mexico,” its first-ever international extension that will see Big 12 men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, and baseball games held in Mexico.
At 2023 Big 12 Football Media Days, Commissioner Brett Yormark took the time to address some details about one of the conference’s newest ventures, which he hopes will further expand the Big 12 footprint.
He said that he and the league’s membership had been approached about doing something like this by several countries. But Yormark said the Big 12 wanted to do something “strategic” and not just something that was a “one-off.”
“What we decided as a collective group is to be a little bit more strategic, and when you look at Mexico, it’s an ideal extension to our geographic footprint,” Yormark said. “When you look at the makeup of many of our member institutions, connecting with the Hispanic community is critically important.”
Yormark previously ran the Brooklyn Nets as its COO, so he helped facilitate the franchise’s participation in an NBA game in Mexico in 2016. He admitted that colored his desire to move into an international market.
The games the league is proposing — starting with non-conference men’s and women’s basketball games pitting Kansas against Houston next December — is only part of the strategy.
Select Big 12 football and basketball games will be on ESPN Deportes and Fox Deportes, and the Big 12 Championship Game will have a Hispanic radio broadcast for the first time. Yormark believes those early initiatives will start the seeding process for the extension of the league’s brand into Mexico.
“We think it’s a huge initiative for us and one we’re very excited about,” Yormark said.
Brett Yormark took over as Big 12 Commissioner on August 1, 2022, and vowed to make the conference “younger, hipper, and cooler,” which has certainly been the case in his first year on the job.
With the addition of Big 12 Mexico, the Rucker Park Basketball Camps, and the new television deal, the Big 12 is transforming and solidifying itself as a conference with true staying power.