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Big Fox will do wonders for Big 12 football

BERRY TRAMEL COMMENTARY: Big Fox has given the Big 12 a national platform to showcase its football games. Hope are that Big Fox can be to the Big 12 what CBS was to the SEC.
by Berry Tramel Published: September 27, 2012

I got a call Saturday afternoon from an OU fan who couldn't find the ballgame on television. Turns out, we were still three hours from OU-Kansas State kickoff, so that was one problem.

But there was another hangup. The game was where it never had been before.

Big Fox. Not Fox Sports Net nor its pseudonyms Fox Sports Oklahoma or Fox Sports Southwest. Not Fox Sports Plus or Fox College Sports.

Big Fox. The Fox of the NFL. The Fox of the World Series. The Fox of the Daytona 500.

The Fox that launched in 1986 and within 21 years had shoved aside NBC, ABC and CBS as the highest-rated network in American television.

Now you know why we call it Big Fox.

Big Fox was in Oklahoma last Saturday night, for the OU-KSU game. Big Fox is in Oklahoma this Saturday night, for the OSU-Texas game.

And Big Fox will do wonders for Big 12 football.

The Big 12 finally has a national platform to showcase its games. Every conference is affiliated with ESPN, but for lo these many years, the Southeastern Conference has had CBS airing a nationally-televised game on Saturday afternoon. It's been a boon to the SEC.

Big Fox can do the same for the Big 12 and the Pac-12, the two leagues that will share Big Fox's Saturday night window.

I've long wanted the Big 12 to sign up with Big Fox or NBC just as competition for ABC/ESPN. Don't let ABC/ESPN get too comfortable in its near monopoly. This is the next-best thing.

Until now, Big Fox had dived sparingly into college football. It bought the BCS series for a few years, and it televises the Cotton Bowl.

But now, Big Fox is all in with a weekly prime-time game. Southern Cal-Hawaii in Week 1, Nebraska-UCLA in Week 2, Southern Cal-Stanford in Week 3, OU-Kansas State in Week 4 and now OSU-Texas.

“This enhances our sports Saturday programming,” said Larry Jones, Fox Sports' chief operating officer. “We are in the big event business. Expanding our whole sports presence on Saturday afternoon and Saturday nights is very important to us.

“We're going with sports almost 52 weeks a year on Saturday night.”

There will be growing pains. The early ratings on Big Fox are not strong.

OU-KSU drew a 1.7 rating last week. Notre Dame-Michigan got a 4.0 on NBC, Florida State-Clemson got a 3.2 on ABC and even Arizona-Oregon got a 2.1 on late-night ESPN.

The week before, the USC-Stanford slugfest drew a 2.5 rating (3.8 million viewers), while Notre Dame-Michigan State on ABC drew a 3.2 and Tennessee-Florida on ESPN drew a 3.1.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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