One of these days, the Big 12 will finalize its $2.6 billion TV agreement with ESPN and FOX, and sign the 13-year grant of rights which syncs up with the life of the extended contract.
That day just isn’t today, though it appeared the once-beleaguered conference had already done the latter portion according to new Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. In an interview with Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette, Bowlsby (pictured) said the grant of rights “has been signed.”
Gazette-Mail – We’ve heard reports about the 13-year, $2.6 billion television deal with ESPN and Fox. When will the official announcement be made?
Bowlsby – Generally speaking, we’ve already come to terms. [The announcement] will be made in the coming weeks or months.
Gazette-Mail – Please clear up the issue concerning schools granting media rights to the league. Schools agreed to grant the rights for a minimum of six years, but then word came that was extended to 13 years. Has that agreement been signed?
Bowlsby – It has been extended to 13 years and it has been signed.
Obviously, such an announcement would quash all questions surrounding conference security as any team wishing to leave before 2026 would have to surrender its media rights, estimated to be around $20 million annually.
That is, of course, if the grant of rights was actually signed. A league spokesman later clarified that, “The grant of rights has not been executed. What [Bowlsby] told the reporter is, it will be executed upon completion of current television negotiations.”
Not sure how “it has been signed” means “it will be executed upon completion”, but hey, you say tomato…
Besides, signing the grant of rights was a condition of agreeing to the new TV deal, which as mentioned above, is close to being completed with only minor details reportedly to be ironed out. Once they are, ink will finally touch paper documenting what has been agreed upon in principle for some time.
And the Big 12 will be much better off when it happens.