KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby shot down a Monday report that ESPN had bought out the pro rata clause that would force the network to pay extra should the conference decide to expand.
"I don't know where they get that stuff," Bowlsby said of a SportsBusiness Journal report that circulated Monday.
The publication reported that ESPN had bought out the pro rata clause for $10 million for the remaining eight years of its deal with the Big 12. That would work out to $125,000 per school annually. SBJ also reported Fox refused to buy out the clause.
"I'm not going to talk about that stuff," Bowlsby said at Big 12's basketball media day. "For one thing, all our TV negotiations are still active negotiations. There's nothing concluded."
Asked if the report was premature, Bowlsby said, "You guys can draw your own conclusions."
The pro rata clause was agreed to by all parties when the current 12-year deal television deal was signed in 2012. It called for ESPN and Fox to pay any expansion schools the same amount as current Big 12 members. If the Big 12 had expanded, that would have meant new schools would have received $25 million-$30 million annually.
ESPN and/or Fox already own the rights to all of the Big 12's reported expansion finalists for significantly less money than they would have earned in the Big 12.
CBS Sports reported in June the Big 12 could have reaped $800 million-$1 billion had the league expanded by four. The conference announced it was taking no action on expansion last week.
Bowlsby said he didn't pay particular attention to criticism of the expansion process that concluded last week.
"I wouldn't have been shocked had we come to the conclusion that getting a little bigger was a good idea," he said. "I wasn't shocked we came out where we did."dodd