In the midst of discussing among friends just where one might find the West Virginia University-James Madison football game on TV this Saturday, the Big 12 announced that their new TV deal is final. The deal with Fox and ESPN is worth $2.6 billion for 13 years. Revenue for each school is projected to be $20 million a year.
West Virginia and TCU, the two first-year members of the league, won't receive full shares until 2015-17, but even at the graduated percentages until that time (50% in 2012-13, then 67% and 85%) the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs stand to make $10 million, then $13.5 million, then $17 million.
The contract is said to be as good as any other conference’s TV deal and this will solidify the conference for at least 13 years. The contract is through the 2024-25 school year, and includes the long awaited grant of rights to the league by all 10 schools through the life of the contract. Nine of the 10 schools have formally signed off on the grant of rights and Texas Tech is expected to follow next week after a regents meeting that is considered a formality.
What the grant of rights means is that the 10 schools have signed over the rights to their television money to the Big 12 for the next 13 years. If a school decides it wants to leave, it leaves that money to the league.
Now that that is all out of the way, what does it mean to us, the viewers. As mentioned, FOX is a big player in this deal and a relative newcomer to college football. WVU has already had one game televised on Fox’s cable channel FX and next week’s game with Maryland will also be on FX at noon.
While still waiting for confirmation, WVU games with Texas, Kansas State and Oklahoma are rumored to be Fox Saturday night prime time games, but for the first time, every Big 12 football game will be televised on one network platform or another - typically ABC, one of the ESPN networks, Fox or one of the Fox platforms that include Fox Sports Net, FX and Fox College Sports.
I can’t offer much help if you are a cable subscriber as to what Fox Sports Channels may, or may not be acquired locally, but Directv subscribers are in good shape and Dish customers should be as well. Satellite viewers should contact their provider to make sure they are subscribed to the proper sports package.
Which leads back to just where you might find the WVU-JMU game at Fed Ex Field this Saturday. Root Sports Pittsburgh will be carrying the game. Root is a regional sports channel like MASN is in this area. It is channel 659 on Directv, but I’m not sure where it is on Dish, or even if it is available on local cable.
A bigger question for those of you that have Root is the blackout policy. It has been stated that there will be a blackout in the DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia markets. That kind of blackout often includes the Eastern Panhandle, so be warned that as of Monday there was nothing definitive to report.