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Big 12 looks to potential early extension of media rights

The changing Big 12 Conference plans to have discussions with ESPN and Fox about a potential early extension of its media rights deal.

IRVING, Texas — The changing Big 12 Conference plans to enter into discussions with ESPN and Fox about a potential early extension of its media rights deal that still has two more football seasons left after this one.

New Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said Wednesday that given the changing landscape of college athletics, the league welcomes “the opportunity to engage with our partners to determine if an early extension is in the best interest of all parties."

An early negotiation for the Big 12 could be significant, given that the Pac-12 board of directors a month ago authorized pushing up negotiations for its next media rights agreements after the decision by UCLA and Southern California to leave for the Big Ten. The Pac-12′s current deal expires in 2024.

The Big 12's deal with ESPN and Fox goes through the 2024-25 academic year. That also is the latest date when Oklahoma and Texas, the league's only football national champions, will leave to join the expanding Southeastern Conference.

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Football independent BYU, along with American Athletic Conference schools Cincinnati, Houston and UCF join the current 10-team Big 12 next summer. BYU, Cincinnati and Houston were all ranked in the preseason AP college football poll, matching the number of current Big 12 members in the Top 25.

The Big 12's announcement also came two weeks after the Big Ten reached seven-year agreements with Fox, CBS and NBC to share the rights to the conference’s football and basketball games. That deal is worth about $7 billion.

“The Big 12 has enjoyed a fantastic relationship with its multi-media rights holders, and I look forward to having these conversations,” Yormark said.

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