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Big 12 TV Deal With Fox Struck, Big 12 Haters Frown

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In Des Moines, Iowa, there are a lot of Big 12 haters. A majority of the sports people around here were predicting the death of the Big 12, telling us the Big 12 is not viable long term, that Iowa State was going to be screwed, that this TV "stuff" Beebe threw out there when the conference was kept together was just lip service, and most of those people were quite enjoying it.

Well, today was a bad day for these people, as the Big 12 signed a 13 year, $1.17 billion deal with Fox, to air all non-ESPN/ABC games on their platform. This deal, along with the current ESPN/ABC deal,  guarantees that after this 2011 season, every Iowa State home non-conference game, and every conference game will be televised on either ESPN, ABC, FSN, FX, or Fox College Sports.

Fox went from paying $20 million/year to air 20 Big 12 football games, to $90 million/year to air 40 football Big 12 football games, a 350% increase over the current Fox deal. That's funny to me, because there were people who swore the Big 12 was worth less than now with Nebraska and Colorado leaving the conference. Hmm.

As far as Iowa State goes, according to Jamie Pollard, Iowa State is going to bring in on average an additional $8 million over the life of the deal, bumping their TV revenue to about $17 million/year. Obviously that pales in comparison to Texas, Oklahoma, etc., but when you are a department operating on a $45 million budget, increasing that revenue by 17% is big.

People can say what they want and try to make fun of Iowa State because they won't receive an equal distribution of the money. That's fine. But what were the other options for Iowa State? This is better than the Big East TV deal, the Big 10 obviously wasn't interested in Iowa State, and conferences like the CUSA and MWC are bringing in just a couple million a year for each team.

What other conference could get Iowa State $17 million a year in TV revenue? The answer is none other than the Big 12. Sometimes you have to live with inequality, and I'm OK with that. I'd rather have the $17 million and be with the Texases and Oklahomas of the world, than to bring in $1-$2 million and be with the Southern Mississippis of the world. So how can anybody fault Iowa State, ridicule, or anything of that nature? They are in the position that will bring them in the most money.

Overall, this is a good day for Iowa State fans. The football program will get more exposure, more money, and the Big 12 doesn't seem to be going anywhere for at least another decade or two.