How Houston Astros, Rockets Helped Save Big 12

The best-kept secret at AOL Fanhouse, Jon Weinbach, has previously unreported details about the television negotiation that prevented the Big 12 from disintegrating.

Calvin Murphy's Houston Rockets Save Big 12

Several outlets have reported that ESPN and Fox, whose Big 12 TV contracts expire in 2016 and 2012, respectively, agreed to significantly higher payments in order to keep Texas in the Big 12 and secure the conference’s future. But a person familiar with the conference’s negotiations said “reports of a new TV deal between Fox and the Big 12 are inaccurate.”

A television network executive with knowledge of the negotiations also confirmed to me today that ESPN did not dump any more money into its existing deal with the Big 12. I was told that the key role played ESPN was that the network agreed not reduce to its financial commitment to the Big 12 despite two schools leaving the league.

ESPN’s financial contribution to the deal merely remained static, which means that a larger amount of revenue from the ESPN deal now goes to each of the 10 remaining Big 12 schools.

Weinbach also has previously unreported details on what motivated Fox to maintain its longterm relationship with the Big 12, effectively killing the proposed Pac-16 TV deal which was - ironically - authored the Fox. Read more…