Kansas fans will have to watch more games via online streaming moving forward.
The Big 12 conference announced Wednesday morning that it has expanded its existing rights agreement with ESPN, which runs through the 2024-25 season. The agreement means that ABC or ESPN will now exclusively televise the Big 12 Football Championship every year through 2024.
In addition, the agreement will bring hundreds of Big 12 events, including exclusive football and basketball games, to ESPN+. At least one regular-season football game each season from each participating school, as well as any spring football games, will be broadcasted through ESPN+. All regular season and exhibition men’s basketball games not distributed on ESPN’s linear networks will be made available this way as well.
Women’s basketball, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, softball and baseball will also be a part of the lineup through ESPN+.
“While this decision means a change in how our local and regional fans watch a few early-season games, it will allow Jayhawks around the world the convenience of watching games when they want and with the same excellent quality we are all used to on the ESPN Networks,” Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said in the Big 12 release. “We also know more and more Jayhawk fans look to digital platforms to watch their favorite programming; now they will be able watch their favorite team via the industry’s leading digital sports platform.”
Eight of the conference’s 10 schools will produce and deliver multiple sports under the new Big 12-branded platform on ESPN+, with schools joining on a rolling basis. Starting in 2019, there will be games from Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, in addition to the select Big 12 Conference championship events.
In 2020-21, Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech will join the lineup. Due to existing long-term rights agreements, Texas (the Longhorn Network) and Oklahoma will not produce and deliver programming included on ESPN+ at this time, but will be featured as road teams in games listed under the new Big 12-branded offering on the service.
“Our institutions are thrilled with the exposure all 10 athletics programs will receive through this Big 12-branded offering,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in the conference release. “Our goal was to be forward thinking in the use of technology to create a conference-branded platform and believe this partnership ideally positions the Big 12 now and into the foreseeable future.”