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Tramel: Big 12 TV Deal A True "Partnership"

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Berry Tramel has a blog piece up discussing the leaked and announced details we have for the 2012 Big 12 TV schedule and he draws a simple conclusion from the data: The new Big 12 TV contract, shared between ESPN and Fox Sports, will be more of a partnership than ever before.

In the past, ESPN would claim all big games and control the market for all over-air broadcasts while Fox handled all cable broadcasts for second tier matchups. Now, with Fox stepping up its payout to the Big 12, the two seem to be coming to terms on a deal that will allow both networks to share equally in the big matchups, with FOX handling more primary broadcasts than ever before and ABC playing a smaller role.

This shouldn't be a surprise, Fox Sports went all out with over the last year by signing a 13 year extension worth roughly $1.2 billion total, hired Erin Andrews away from ESPN and went all in by programming a Saturday night game and pregame show throughout the fall of this year, supplanting long time FOX programming. ESPN has reciprocated this investment in the Big 12, agreeing to an extension worth roughly $1.3 million through 2025 (so, $2.5 billion total through 2025).

The new deal, which is getting ironed out as we speak, will mirror the media deal the PAC-12 signed recently, where ESPN and Fox Sports share broadcast and cable rights equally over the life of the contract while giving the conference freedom to control its Tier 3 rights. Obviously, TCU is also working on its Tier 3 deal as we speak, which will feature a partnership between the Athletics Department Digital Media Platform (FrogVision) and local/regional television distributors. The deal, which has not been announced, is likely to supply a minimum of $3 million in additional revenue for TCU Athletics per year, a source recently indicated.

I think for TCU and the Big 12 this new agreement will dramatically increase visibility for all sports programming while also providing a solid level of revenue for member institutions, approximately $19 million a year. While expansion is still possible, I find it hard to believe the Big 12 would intentionally dilute the media payout for its members at the same time, a possible effect if the incoming institutions do not bring enough eyeballs and media markets with them.

TCU fans will have to wait until the Monday morning before the Virginia game, and the Monday before each subsequent game, to find out where the Frogs will be playing on your TV. But have no doubt, the exposure TCU will get is beyond anything this university has ever seen, for football and beyond.