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Report: Fox, ESPN Open TV Rights Contract Negotiations with Big 12 Conference

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 31, 2022

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Fox and ESPN are reportedly set to begin negotiations over a new television contract with the Big 12 conference, according to ESPN's Pete Thamel.

The current contract runs through the end of the 2024 football season and has an exclusive negotiating window that opens in February 2024, but the two sides have agreed to come to the table early.

As Thamel noted, the move can help the conference gain stability for its members and potential new additions.

"[Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark] is doing what he should be doing, trying to gain an advantage," an industry source told Thamel.

The Big 12 has been a major part of the latest stretch of conference realignment. After losing Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, the league added BYU, UCF, Houston and Cincinnati, all set to join in 2023.

The conference also indicated potential interest in adding teams from the Pac-12 after UCLA and USC left for the Big Ten.

"We are exploring all options, and we are open for business," Yormark told reporters in July.

A new television contract would bring some clarity to the league. If the two sides can't come to an agreement now, they would still be able to negotiate in two years.

ESPN could also be aggressive in securing a Big 12 deal after losing out on the Big Ten television rights.

The Big Ten agreed to a seven-year, $7 billion deal with Fox, CBS and NBC earlier this month, which will begin July 1, 2023.

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