Blog Entry

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

Posted on: August 20, 2010 5:22 pm

Eight Big 12 athletic directors met with a media rights holder Friday morning to discuss forming their own cable network.

Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Colorado, Missouri and Kansas State had discussions Learfield Sports, a Plano, Texas-based company that manages the multimedia rights for more than 50 universities nationwide. Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne has talked and tweeted about the meeting publicly. The move is not related to any conference shifting, but is seen as a new revenue stream.

"[People are] interested in creating a cable network for the conference," Byrne told "It's something I'm quite interested in ... It's something that our fans are going to be demanding sooner rather than later."

This is the conference's last season as a 12-team league. Nebraska is headed to the Big Ten in 2011. Colorado is leaving for the Pac-10 in either 2011 or 2012. It wasn't immediately clear what Colorado was doing at the meeting if it is soon leaving the league.

Texas' rights are not handled by Learfield. The school has made it clear it wants to develop its own channel or network.

"If they can pull that off, my hat's off to them," Byrne said. "We're just having preliminary discussions right now to gauge the level of interest."

Experts have said the success of a college sports cable network hinge on the number of football and men's basketball games it can broadcast. Fox Sports, ESPN and ABC own those Big 12 rights. Byrne said there could be some flexibility in new negotiations. The Big 12 has been promised upwards of $20 million annually per team in the new round of negotiations which begin next year.

"That's what you have to have to have a successful cable channel," Byrne said. "You have to have football and a handful of men's basketball games."

Learfield played down the meeting.

"It caused a lot of questions [from media]," a spokesman said. "It was nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn't anything top secret."


Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: August 25, 2010 3:45 pm

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

I wonder if KU wasn't there because they wouldn't want to give up The Jayhawk Television Network, which is part of ESPN Regional and makes sure all the non-conference hoops games are broadcast throughout the state. I would think that is a pretty big revenue source that KU doesn't have to share with other schools. 

Since: Jun 28, 2007
Posted on: August 21, 2010 8:02 pm

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

Just a quess, KU may not have a contract with Learfield Sports.  I don't know for sure but I assume everyone else is currently under contract.

Since: Nov 1, 2008
Posted on: August 21, 2010 4:59 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Mar 29, 2008
Posted on: August 21, 2010 2:51 pm

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

Texas is not part of this so outside of T A&M and Oklahoma you have a small veiwing base. What I think is funny is how the talk in KC is saying that teams like MU and KU will get as much money as NU will from the Big 10. Seriously? Who will actually watch this network when all Texas games will be excluded. If OU has a down year this network is screwed.

As for BB it just is not watched as much as football almost to the point where no one cares. That is why the near demize of the Big 12 would have killed KU. Maybe this will show some people in Texas who MU is but won't most of them be watching the Texas network anyway.

Sounds to my like the veiwing audiance will be the same places MU recruits from already.

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: August 21, 2010 2:05 pm

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

I wonder why KU wasn't there.

Since: Aug 21, 2010
Posted on: August 21, 2010 11:27 am

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

There are plenty of games not picked up by the networks that could be shown on this network if they get it off the ground.  Great idea by the "other" powers of the Big XII.

Since: Aug 21, 2010
Posted on: August 21, 2010 1:11 am

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

Colorado AD Mike Bohn just told the Boulder Daily Camera that Colorado was not a part of this meeting.

Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: August 21, 2010 12:27 am

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

I'd be very interested in seeing alot of these games that the TV Networks don't want to show me.   Baylor vs ISU, I want to see it.   I don't need ESPN or ABC telling me its not interesting enough.

I would much rather watch conference opponents playing in some of their OOC matchups then a Pac 10 or Big East game.

I hope something will happen that will make more Big 12 football and basketball games available to me at a reasonable price.

Since: Sep 25, 2007
Posted on: August 20, 2010 10:07 pm

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

If these AD's and Universities can get together on this idea then it can make a splash in other sports like wrestling, volleyball, Softball, and Womens BB as well which will help recruiting and a solid media presence in the lower midwest.  Mizzou, Kansas, K-State and Iowa State could take advantage of the pact by staging a inter-conference points package against the southern schools (Not Texas) and maybe generate some new rivalries and unique reasons to watch these contests.  Soccer is another area they could explore.  I agree though, the key is geting some of the football games the BIG BOYS do not pick up  Baylor vs Mizzou, Iowa State Vs OK State, K-State Verus A+M, etc along with a few of the early non conference games the Big Networks do not want anyway.  Anytime you can say that you are televising 8-10 games a year it will help your school, your Athletic Department and the coffers of the Universities.  Probably can even challenge Texas to appear onc ein a while.

Since: Sep 2, 2009
Posted on: August 20, 2010 7:52 pm

Big 12 ADs discuss starting cable network

Very smart move by other schools in conference to try and counter balance UT. A 5 or 6 state regional network would be much more profitable and would provide much more interesting content than anything that UTs regional appeal could provide on its own.

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