ESPN signs Big 12 deal through 2016 season

ESPN and the Big 12 Conference have reached a new wide-ranging, eight-year agreement, calling for coverage of football, men’s and women’s basketball and several other sports across 14 platforms, beginning in 2008-09 and continuing through 2015-16, it was announced today by Kevin Weiberg, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference and John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming and acquisitions.

As part of the agreement, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will offer extensive Big 12 action, while ESPNU – the 24-hour college sports network – will have significantly more Big 12 coverage with up to 50 exclusive games each academic year plus weekly studio programming. Additionally, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN360.com (customized broadband network), ESPN PPV, ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN International and several other outlets will deliver Big 12 content to fans worldwide.

Another featured part of the overall commitment is the networks’ extensive championship coverage highlighted by the Dr Pepper Big 12 Football Championship (ABC) and the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship (ESPN).

“We took a hard look at a variety of television options,” Weiberg said. “Our membership feels strongly that this agreement with ABC/ESPN provides the broadest national exposure and is easily accessible to our fans, while preserving the continuation of institutional packages of televised events that supply direct revenue and additional coverage for our institutions. This arrangement builds on the 11-year relationship we have enjoyed with the network and provides continued financial growth.”

Wildhack added, “The Big 12 will receive more exposure than it’s ever had. With action on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 leading the way and even more quality content on growing outlets like ESPNU and ESPN360.com, we are delighted to creatively serve the passionate fan bases that support the great schools in this top conference.”

Following are specifics of the agreement:

Men’s Basketball – Regular Season and Conference Tournament
Regular-season: first selection to approximately 95 games per season across ESPN’s entities, including over 60 games on national services ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN360.com and broadcast television.

Broadcast television: Exclusive rights to over-the-air coverage, featuring action on ABC.

ESPN and ESPN2: Exclusive national cable rights will include the addition of a weekly ESPN2 game Wednesdays during conference play joining returning Big 12 action on ESPN’s Big Monday as well as a Saturday game on ESPN or ESPN2.

ESPNU and ESPN360.com: These growing networks will combine to offer 20 exclusive Big 12 basketball games and ESPNU will also present a weekly 30-minute program highlighting all Big 12 sports.

Syndication: ESPN Regional Television (ERT) will remain the exclusive syndicator of the conference’s basketball games, presenting 32 games a season, highlighted by Saturday doubleheaders and studio shows. A new element will be the branding of all ERT syndicated productions as “The Big 12 Network.”

ESPN PPV: ESPN FULL COURT, the season-long pay-per-view package, will feature Big 12 games extensively.

Additional ESPN outlets: Big 12 basketball content will be featured prominently across many other ESPN entities, such as extensive video and audio content on ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD, ESPN Deportes, ESPN International, ESPN Classic and much more.

Conference Tournament: ESPN’s entities will present every game from the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship, culminating with the championship game on ESPN.

Football

Broadcast television – Regular Season and Championship: ABC will continue as the exclusive over-the-air home of Big 12 football with first pick of 19 games each season, including primetime action and the Dr Pepper Big 12 Football Championship. In addition, ESPN retains entitlement rights to the conference championship.

ESPN PPV: ESPN GamePlan, the season-long, pay-per-view offering, will include out-of-market telecasts of ABC’s regionalized Big 12 games.

Additional ESPN outlets: Big 12 football content will be featured prominently across many other ESPN entities, such as extensive video and audio content on ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN Deportes, ESPN International, ESPN Classic and much more.

Women’s Basketball and More

ESPN and ESPN2: The networks will televise at least six other Big 12 events each year, including select events from women’s basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling and volleyball.

ESPNU: True to its mission to serve the passion of college sports fans, ESPNU will complement its increased Big 12 men’s basketball lineup with up to 25 additional Big 12 events each academic year, including women’s basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling and volleyball.

Corporate Partner Program

Also as part of the agreement, ESPN Regional Television will continue to manage the conference’s corporate partner program, representing the league on sponsorship matters.