ESPN, Big 12 Conference Enhance Comprehensive Rights Agreement

Football

ESPN, Big 12 Conference Enhance Comprehensive Rights Agreement

  • Big 12 Football Championship to be on ABC or ESPN annually through 2024
  • Big 12-branded digital offering and event presentation to launch as part of innovative deal
  • Hundreds of events, including exclusive football and basketball, coming to ESPN+

ESPN and the Big 12 Conference have significantly expanded their existing rights agreement, which runs through the 2024-25 season. Adding to its already robust coverage of the Big 12, the agreement means that ABC or ESPN will now exclusively televise the Big 12 Football Championship every year through 2024 – adding three additional championship games (2019, 2021 and 2023) and bolstering ABC and ESPN’s Championship Saturday lineup each year on the eve of College Football’s Selection Day.

In addition, the agreement will bring hundreds of Big 12 events – including exclusive football and basketball games, as well as multiple other sports, conference championships and original content – to ESPN+, the direct-to-consumer subscription sports streaming service.  As part of the agreement, all ESPN+ events will be produced and presented under a Big 12-branded offering to be developed by the conference and ESPN, and launched on ESPN+ ahead of the start of the 2019-20 athletic season.

“We appreciate the continued collaboration with our friends at the Big 12 Conference and their commitment to innovation,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming & scheduling. “This enhancement to our rights agreement reflects an ongoing desire to give Big 12 fans access to their favorite teams and hundreds of more contests, while embracing the power of technology and the expanded nature of sports consumption with ESPN+.”

“Our institutions are thrilled with the exposure all 10 athletics programs will receive through this Big 12-branded offering,” commented Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “I appreciate the efforts of ESPN’s Burke Magnus, Nick Dawson and Pete Derzis in bringing this to fruition. Building on our relationship with ESPN and Disney DTCI allows our programs access to cutting-edge technology through the ESPN+ platform, and the ability for multiple live contests to be distributed simultaneously.  Our goal was to be forward thinking in the use of technology to create a conference-branded platform and believe this partnership ideally positions the Big 12 now and into the foreseeable future.”

Hundreds of Events Added Through 2024-25
Under the expanded agreement, hundreds of additional Big 12 sports events annually will be presented under the new Big 12-branded offering on ESPN+, with each participating Big 12 Conference school assigning available rights to ESPN and delivering more than 50 exclusive events per year. The lineup will include:

  • An exclusive regular-season football game each season from each participating school, as well as any spring football games;
  • All regular season and exhibition men’s basketball games not distributed on ESPN’s linear networks (expected to be upwards of 75 games per year);
  • Women’s basketball and other conference sports such as volleyball, soccer, wrestling, softball, baseball and more;
  • Select Big 12 Conference championship events and original content.

Eight of the conference’s 10 schools will produce and deliver multiple sports under the new Big 12-branded platform on ESPN+, with schools joining on a rolling basis. Starting in 2019, there will be games from Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, in addition to the select Big 12 Conference championship events. In 2020-21, Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech will join the lineup. Due to existing long-term rights agreements, Texas (the Longhorn Network) and Oklahoma will not produce and deliver programming included on ESPN+ at this time, but will be featured as road teams in games listed under the new Big 12-branded offering on the service.

Big 12 events will be available as part of any ESPN+ subscription, and join a programming lineup of thousands of live sports events and thousands of hours of on-demand content, including acclaimed original programming and the 30 for 30 film library, as well as premium editorial content and tools. Fans can subscribe at www.espnplus.com.

The ESPN App and ESPN.com will offer a branded, one-stop home for viewing Big 12 events, making events distributed under the new Big 12-branded offering on ESPN+ accessible to fans alongside current Big 12 events streamed from ESPN networks (available to pay television subscribers via “TV everywhere” authentication), as well as other related video. The content will also be served to fans who select Big 12 Conference member schools among their favorites in the ESPN App.

 

About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It reached 2 million subscribers in less than a year and offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHL games, exclusive UFC and Top Rank boxing events, top domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredivisie, and more), thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and other sports) from more than a dozen conferences, Grand Slam tennis –  Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.

ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App (on mobile and connected devices) and ESPN.com. They are the industry-leading all-in-one digital sports platform, delivering a rich, personalized experience to tens of millions of fans every month.

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Derek Volner

I work in college sports, which includes football and basketball, with an emphasis on Olympic Sports. Additionally, I handle ESPN’s coverage of high school athletics and recruiting.
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