KU Officials: New Television Agreement with FOX Exhibits Big 12 Conference's Strength and Long-Term Stability

April 13, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – University of Kansas officials said Wednesday that the Big 12 Conference’s new television agreement with FOX solidifies the future of the Big 12.

“The Big 12 Conference has emerged united and robust and with tremendous forward momentum,” University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. “This agreement demonstrates the long-term stability of this vibrant conference, which in turn will further strengthen our student-athlete programs. Jayhawk fans everywhere also can rest assured KU remains secure in a top national conference.”

“We congratulate Commissioner Dan Beebe and his team,” KU Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger said. “This is a great day, not only for KU, but also for all the members of the Big 12. This agreement makes evident the strength of this conference, and we are pleased and proud to proceed into the future together with our nine conference partners.”

The Big 12 Conference and Fox Sports Media Group announced Wednesday that they have reached a 13-year agreement for exclusive cable rights for football games, a variety of Olympic sports events within the Big 12, and Conference championships.

The new pact, which takes effect with the 2012 football season, grants Fox Sports Networks (FSN) the exclusive rights to televise a minimum of 40 regular-season Big 12 football games—nearly double the number under its current agreement. In addition, several of these telecasts will likely be scheduled as part of the recently announced new college football game of the week on FX, one of the most-watched cable networks in the country, now available in more than 99 million households. FSN also has similar cable exclusivity for a minimum of 40 Olympic sports including Conference championship events and women’s basketball (Men’s basketball not included; rights held by ABC/ESPN).

“This landmark agreement positions the Conference with one of the best television arrangements in collegiate sports,” said Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe. “It exceeds the benchmarks as we move forward with our 10 members by providing significant revenue growth, increased exposure while allowing institutions to retain selected rights. Most importantly, the agreement signifies the long-term commitment of the member institutions to one another. The Conference is delighted to continue its partnership with Fox and build on the momentum the FSN network has generated for the Big 12 rand through our first 15 years. We are excited about extending our presence on other FOX platforms, especially on FX, a top network for male audiences.”

“This agreement extends our relationship with a valued long-time partner and ensures that Fox Sports will have an incredibly strong college football slate to offer viewers well into the next decade,” said Randy Freer, President of FOX Sports Networks.

“These 10 universities in the center of America stand together in their commitment,” University of Missouri Chancellor and Big 12 Conference Board of Directors Chairman Brady Deaton said. “The Big 12 will generate per member television revenue at competitive levels of college athletics, while at the same time increasing exposure for our programs on national and regional platforms, and providing for comprehensive institutional rights retention.”

“Dating back to last summer, the 10 continuing members of the Big 12 Conference were convinced that we had a very special future and there was a place in the collegiate marketplace for a major 10-team conference,” said Joe Castiglione, University of Oklahoma Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics, who also serves as chair of the Conference’s AD group. “We knew that a format that crowned true champions through head-to-head competition would be beneficial to the Conference, our fans and media partners.”

When the agreement takes effect in the 2012-13 academic year, every Big 12 home football game will be broadcast on ABC, a FOX network, or by institutional platforms. Big 12 schools will have the option to retain rights to one home football game per season for distribution via institutional platforms. In all other sports, institutions will retain the rights to all home contests not selected for broadcast by ABC/ESPN or FOX Sports.

The Conference continues its long standing partnership with ABC/ESPN for its over-the-air Big 12 football and men’s basketball rights, including the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship. The league’s current ABC/ESPN agreement runs through 2015-16.

With its new Big 12 agreement in place, Fox Sports Media Group now boasts the most comprehensive portfolio of college product in the country, with nearly 2,000 marquee events showcased through national and regional platforms, including FOX Sports, FSN, the Big Ten Network, and FOX College Sports. The Big 12 solidifies Fox Sports’ impressive roster of conference partners that includes Conference USA, ACC, Pac-10 and SEC.

About FOX Sports Media Group

FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) is the umbrella entity representing News Corporation’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands that are capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FSMG includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FSMG now includes FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; Fox’s 19 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; SPEED and SPEED2; Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus; FUEL TV; and Fox College Sports. In addition, FSMG also includes FOX Sports Interactive Media, which comprises FOXSports.com on MSN, whatifsports.com and scout.com, reaching over 20 million unique visitors monthly. Also included are Fox’s interests in joint-venture businesses FOX Deportes, Big Ten Network and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network, FOX Sports Skybox restaurants and FOX Sports Grills.

About the Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities – Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech – beginning July 1, 2011. The Big 12 is an NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics conference that encompasses five states with over 40 million people within its geographic footprint. More than 4,100 student-athletes from across the United States and around the World compete annually in the 23 sports sponsored by the Conference.