Per Chip Brown of Horns Digest, the Big 12 will not expand nor add a television network this year.
The Big 12 presidents and chancellors are converging on Dallas this week to discuss the possibility of adding teams and creating a conference TV Network this year. There is news that has come out about the Big 12 not expanding, which obviously has a negative impact on BYU joining a power conference.
Chip Brown of Horns Digest is back on the realignment news surrounding the Big 12 and his sources are saying that the league is staying pat on all fronts:
Expansion is not happening and neither is a Big 12 network – not this year, multiple sources across the Big 12 as well as TV industry sources told HornsDigest.com.
The bottom line is there is no consensus on any non-Power Five candidates to add, and the league’s primary TV partners – ESPN and Fox – aren’t exactly knocking down doors right now to start a conference network, the sources told HD.
Brown was a key in breaking news back in 2010 about the then-Pac-10 looking to raid the Big 12 by taking Texas, Oklahoma and others, but he also has not been 100 percent accurate in his reporting either. Yet, this report from him makes a lot of sense.
However, this is not something way out of left field since the first step in adding a conference network means having the University of Texas give up its lucrative Longhorn Network. Even if Texas were to earn more than the $15 million per year to give up the channel they also like the branding as the only school to have its own channel, and that is a hard thing to give up.
To make a television network work well, the Big 12 would be better off with at least 12 teams in the conference and thus why a conference network would need to be hammered out first and then go onto expansion candidates.
Since there are not any teams that can bring in around $25 million annually that sit outside the power five leagues — including BYU which has the best resume in key areas — the Big 12 does not see a benefit in adding teams without a network, and their TV partners Fox and ESPN would not want to pay out more for teams that do not increase their bottom line to be able to pay the extra $50 million per year they would owe.
Sports Business Daily reporter John Ourand was on the SI Media Podcast last week and said he thought conferences are better off taking in the fist full of money that comes from media rights fees from ESPN, Fox, and others; while not having to worry about the various issues of a conference-wide network.
“If I were a consultant in media, I would tell these guys, just sit on your butt and collect these big rights fees that are out there that companies are still paying,” Ourand said. “I don’t see a huge upside to owning the channel. Just take a look at NFL Network. It’s a completely successful network, it’s actually making money for the NFL, but what’s their endgame? Who’s going to buy the NFL Network, which is solely dependent on live sports rights from the NFL?”
What does this mean for BYU?
For starters, this report by Brown says “this year” meaning the will they or won’t they dance could continue next off season, and that sound you hear is the nation groaning about that news.
The Cougars should still obviously keep talking the Big 12 about showing that they are interested and the benefits they bring in, but at this point it seems closer and closer that joining the Big 12, or any power league, seems to be way down the road. BYU should concentrate on playing the best schedule possible and increasing what they get in the best television deal out there and improve exposure and money.
BYU has already presented what it can to the Big 12 and all that is left to get their attention is to win the games presented in front of them which is getting much closer to a power five schedule than what they faced in their years in the Mountain West and first few as an independent.
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