Despite reportedly inking new deals with both ESPN and Fox, the Big 12 isn’t shutting the door on expansion.
Per The Athletic’s writeup of the contracts, both contain a pro rata clause in the event of the expansion.
A pro rata clause is expected to be included in the Big 12’s extension with its network partners, multiple conference sources said, which would aid the conference if it pursues additional members. Yormark said in July the Big 12 is “open for business” and exploring its expansion opportunities. The Athletic previously reported that the league has talked with six Pac-12 schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
The Dallas Morning News also confirmed the inclusion of the pro rata clause, noting the inclusion of a grant of rights agreement through the summer of 2031.
For whatever it’s worth, the Big Ten’s media rights deals with CBS, Fox, and NBC reportedly contain an escalator related to adding Notre Dame (and only Notre Dame).
What this pro rata clause really does is puts more pressure on the Pac-12 to get a new set of media rights deals done that would at least put it in the same ballpark as the Big 12. If the conference isn’t able to do that, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Big 12 is able to poach schools from the conference (Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah have been linked most prominently) and perhaps further hasten the dissolution of the conference.
So while we’re not at the expansion endgame quite yet, we’re getting there.