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Big 12 Announces It Will Start Talks on Next Media Rights Deal with ESPN and FOX

The race between the Pac-12 and Big 12 is on.



Devin Wilber/PFB

The Big 12 Conference on Wednesday announced it will be entering into discussions with its multimedia partners on its next media rights deal on an “accelerated extension of its current agreements.” The talks come amidst a chaotic summer of realignment, potentially giving the Big 12 an early edge to secure both its financial and relevancy future within the quickly shifting landscape.

“It is an exciting time for college athletics and given the changing landscape we welcome the opportunity to engage with our partners to determine if an early extension is in the best interest of all parties,” said Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark in a statement.  “The Big 12 has enjoyed a fantastic relationship with its multi-media rights holders, and I look forward to having these conversations.”

The announcement means the Big 12 and its new leader will be having accelerated talks with both FOX and ESPN about a potential new agreement. The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy reports those talks will begin first with ESPN “as early as next week,” and discussions with FOX are “expected to start after Labor Day.”

The Big 12’s new deal, however it is shaped, would begin in 2025 with its current Grant of Rights set to roll out through 2024. The accelerated timeline could put the league in the catbird position to lock up its future, but it is not without its challenges, either. Just weeks ago the Pac-12 also announced it was entering into early negotiations with media partners, though its Grant of Rights expires a year earlier than the Big 12, in 2023.

With the Big Ten announcing a new mega-deal earlier this month that reset the market, the Pac-12 was expected to be next in line to effectively reset the market post-Big Ten. The Big 12, though, is essentially trying to get ahead of talks a year early, setting up an interesting race alongside the Pac-12, as both are ESPN and FOX partners.

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