The Athletic on prying EOE/OU out of the Big 12 early

Expands on the Brett McMurphy story I linked the other day.

Cliffs Notes:

  • If they’re going to join the SEC in July 2024, Big 12 bylaws say they have to give 18 months notice. That deadline would be New Year’s Eve 2022 – two weeks away. But that provision is probably negotiable.

  • Basically, Texas and OU have to agree to a high enough exit fee to satisfy the remaining Orphans, Fox and ESPN. If they do, they can leave.

  • Speaking of which, ESPN will own the rights to Texas and OU games in 2024 no matter which league they’re in.

  • Big 12 would be okay with an early departure if the dollars are right because they’ll add Cincy and three other schools in 2024, leaving them with an awkward 14 teams for one year only.

They’re adding the four schools next year (in 2023), aren’t they?

Correct, it is '23. So next season will be awkward anyway.

Is there enough financial benefit to ut & OU for them to depart the Big12 one year early?

Seems that it would benefit the Big12 to move on & regroup with the additions of Cincinnati, UH, BYU, & UCF - unless ut & OU bring in big $ to the conference. The 4 additions will happen no later than the 2024-25 athletic year (BYU in 2023). If ut & OU remain in Big12 thru that final season, there will be 14 Big12 teams in the '24-'25. Big12 has also left the door open for further additions.

That’s the crux of the matter, and why Fox and ESPN would have to sign off. Ex-commish Bob Bowlsby told the Texas legislature last year that those two schools bring in half of the value of the total LD TV package; the other 8 schools are the other half. Cincy and BYU don’t replace that.

One more Cliffs Note of interest:

We already knew this, but the SEC is trying to get ESPN to raise the value of the new TV deal. There is already a pro-rata provision where, in going from 14 teams to 16, ESPN will pay 16-14ths of the original annual fee. But the SEC is contending (correctly) that OU and Texas increase the value of the package more than that, along with the likely move to nine conference games in football.

I believe the revenues to FOX & ESPN for ut & OU continue thru 2024-2025 regardless of what conference they play. Read where the 3 ACC schools agreed to pay exit fees so that all 4 schools will play in the Big12 starting in 2023 so possibly 2 years where there will be 14 Big12 teams. I can understand that BYU, Cincinnati, UCF, & UH do not fully offset ut & OU $. Revenues for ut & OU should be a windfall to the SEC & good leverage with negotiations with ESPN.

Too bad that SEC did not beat Big10 to the punch on USC & UCLA. Revenues of a late night CST Saturday SEC game for ESPN would be huge.

You mean the revenues FROM Fox and ESPN? They don’t want to be paying the Big 12 for games they can’t show because those two are now in the SEC. ESPN is going to get to show them either way (although they’ll pay more to the SEC for the privilege than they would to the LD). But if they leave early, Fox is left paying for teams it can’t show (unless they agree to NC roadies at Stillwater or Cincy or whatever, which I suppose could be an option).

I was referring to the media income & market share to FOX & ESPN which they in turn pay out a big portion to the conference(s).

Apparently the longhorn network (LHN) may be willing to pay the $140M buyout for ut & OU. There remains $160M that ESPN still owes to ut for the final 10 yrs of that $300M 20 yr. contract. ESPN recognizes the the LH Network will die (& already dying) & end as ut joins the SEC & becomes a part of the ESPN’s SEC network.

Interesting that LHN lost a lot of $, but for ESPN it served its purpose in preventing ut from joining & forming the PAC16 which FOX has media rights. ut in turn was paid big $ via LHN to keep the Big12 alive & therefore maintained & strengthened ESPN’s market share.

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Interesting. I had not heard that. Obviously Bevonet would go away, or be folded into SECN, but paying for the privilege is an interesting idea that just might work (and still save the Mouse some money). The story suggests that if OU-UT are willing to pay $50M each (or get Bevonet to pay it for them) they can get out early.

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