The Big 12 presidents and chancellors are meeting in Dallas this week to discuss their future conference plans which include adding a title game, expanding and adding a conference-wide television network.
Colorado State is a team that has been in the mix to land a spot in this particular power five conference, and most of that info is based on the Big 12 creating a TV network and reach the Denver market.
The Rams have not been shy about wanting to join the Big 12 and sent the league a brochure of their benefits on and off the field about inclusion.
Well, Colorado State may want to hold off on any excitement about a potential invite.
Chip Brown of Horns Digest is back on the realignment news involving the Big 12 and his sources are saying that the league does not plan on expanding.
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 the one to break news back in 2010 about the then-Pac-10 had plans to take Texas, Oklahoma and others to create a Pac-16 Conference. That failed but Brown has been an in-the-know reporter on this news.
He also has not been 100 percent accurate in his reporting either. Yet, this report from him makes a lot of sense because of what the Big 12 wants to accomplish.
If the league wants to create a conference network it will need to expand to provide enough inventor, but even before that the Longhorn Network needs to be given up by Texas.
The Longhorns will have nothing to do with that. Even if Texas can get at the very minimum $15 million per year they will not just give up the branding of their very own television channel.
If there is no conference network then there is no reason to expand since there are no teams out there that can bring in the needed $25 million each annually to satisfy what Fox and ESPN are currently paying. Their TV partners want value for adding teams and not have to take a loss on paying out $50 million per year.
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?”
The Big 12 can be fine and stay within reach of the SEC and Big Ten by collecting $25 million-plus annually from their main rights and then a few million from the third-tier rights. The Big 12 is very concerned with keeping up with the SEC and Big Ten, but their conference footprint is different.
The Big Ten is in major cities, large enrollment size and alumni are in major cities after they graduate and the SEC has the most rabid fanbase. Then there is the Big 12 which is in small towns likes Ames, Iowa; Lawrence, Kansas; Waco, Texas; Lubbock, Texas; and so on. The largest town is Austin which has approximately a population size of 850,000 and barely a top-50 TV market.
The Big 12 is at a disadvantage to those to leagues and even if there were the two perfect candidates and a TV network went as smooth as the Big Ten Network they likely would still be behind in revenue than the SEC and Big Ten.
The meetings surrounding the Big 12 begin this week and maybe the report from Brown will not be accurate because it has already been reported that a timeline to even decide on expansion candidates may not take place until the end of this year.
I'd place odds on nothing happening this week, and more waiting.