The Big 12's television contract with ESPN and FOX finally has been approved.
"The stability of the Big 12 Conference is cemented," said commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "We are positioned with one of the best media rights arrangements in collegiate sports, providing the conference and its members unprecedented revenue growth, and sports programming over two networks."
The 13-year contract begins now, which means those Sept. 22 OU-Kansas State and Sept. 29 OSU-Texas games can be officially announced as 6:30 p.m. kickoffs on Fox's over-air network (KOKH-25). That's the highlight of the new contract — both ESPN and Fox now will broadcast games both on cable and over-air.
Here are the highlights of the joint agreement:
* An increase in the number of guaranteed full national football telecasts to a minimum of 25 per season on a combination of ABC, FOX, ESPN and FX.
* Allows FOX over-the-air access to Big 12 football with a minimum of six games annually on broadcast television.
* Allows ESPN cable access to Big 12 football for ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.
* Provides FOX with enhanced selections through 2015. ESPN and FOX share rotating game selections beginning in 2016. The current contracts go through 2015, so they've compromised until then. Then in '16, it's a partnership, with alternate picks. Which begs a question. Could Big FOX televise OU-Texas in 2016 or 2017?
* Beginning this season, every Big 12 home football game will be carried on a combination of ESPN, FOX or institutional platforms. Big 12 schools will have the option to retain rights to one conference-controlled football game per season for distribution via permitted member institution outlets and third-party licensees, or can return the retained game back to FOX for broadcast.
Here are a few quotes provided by the Big 12: