Fox Sports decided to hand out Tier 3 television contracts this week and if your alma mater resides in the Big 12, you’re in luck. On the heels of Oklahoma’s agreement with the network to host 1,000 hours annually of Sooners sports, both Texas Tech and TCU announced similar packages today.
Neither is likely to receive as much air time as Oklahoma – top Barry Switzer reliving recruiting battles and we’ll talk – but the broadcasting deals create another revenue stream for Big 12 institutions. The Sooners, Horned Frogs and Red Raiders intend to showcase at least one football game, all available men’s basketball contests and various Olympic sports as content.
For each program, the hours on Fox Sports increases visibility of sports outside of the revenue-generators (football and men’s basketball). That aids in recruiting which increases booster donations which leads to better facilities and more wins.
Tier 3 packages might not be the sexiest matchups (games not chosen by ABC/ESPN, Fox/FX to air), but they’re live sports and a market television executives are incredibly happy to tap.
Pac 12 and Big Ten broadcast deals enveloped Tier 3 rights in order to create conference networks that share revenue equally. The SEC is readying a network for launch within the next 2-3 years. Where the Big 12 remains an outlier is the obvious lack of a 10-team network and substituting that with an individual program’s ability to shop their Tier 3 content. That’s where the Longhorn Network was born.
While these agreements for TCU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma won’t pay as much as ESPN does to Texas, it’s still supplemental income. It seems sensible then to expect Baylor, Oklahoma State and maybe the two Kansas institutions to pursue similar setups with Fox Sports.
On average, the Big 12 Tier 1 and Tier 2 television contract pays out a tad less than their Big Ten and Pac 12 counterparts. Where they hope to close that gap is the sale of their Tier 3 rights.