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Big 12 In “Meaningful” Conversations with ESPN, FOX For Media Rights

“I can’t go out there and talk to an Amazon or an Apple or CBS. But in a world that’s changing, why don’t we explore an early conversation which could, maybe, lead to a negotiation.”

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The Big 12 Conference is exploring a new media rights deal while it still has time left on its current deal with FOX and ESPN. Even though the conference cannot freely shop its media rights, their willingness to engage in early conversations has led to “meaningful” back-and-forths.

“So (the conference) is not a free agent,” Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark told the Associated Press. “I can’t go out there and talk to an Amazon or an Apple or CBS. But in a world that’s changing, why don’t we explore an early conversation which could, maybe, lead to a negotiation. And I can tell you that we’ve had meaningful conversations for the last three-plus weeks, and we’ll see where they go.”

The Big 12 still has two years left on its deals with ESPN and FOX but announced in late August that it planned to engage the two networks even prior to the exclusive negotiating window opening in February 2024.

“There’s no timetable,” Yormark said. “If we can’t get to a deal, then the fallback is 16 months from now. But I’m a big fan of ESPN. I’m a big fan of FOX. We’re at a point right now where it’s important to elevate and amplify our brand. And I think they’re the two best partners to do it.”

The Big 12 Commissioner also added that engaging in these discussions now, amidst the carousel of conference realignment, is an effort to create some clarity for the conference.

“The strategy was clarity and stability as we’re looking to grow this conference in every respect,” Yormark said. “Obviously, it has to be the right economic deal, but it’s not just about economics. It’s also about the partnership, and what it can do for our business and our brand and the profile of our schools, which is critically important to me.”

Sports TV News

St. Louis Cardinals Announcer Dan McLaughlin Charged With Third DWI

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

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Dan McLaughlin

St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin has been charged with DWI after being arrested on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police received at least two phone calls from concerned drivers that a white BMW was driving erratically, with one caller saying it was driving into oncoming traffic.

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

Bally Sports Midwest and the released a joint statement Monday.

“We have been made aware that Dan McLaughlin was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Sunday night.. We are very disappointed to hear this, and are working to gather additional information before offering further comment.”

McLaughlin, 48, has served as the voice of the Cardinals for 24 years.

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Sports TV News

NFL Flex Scheduling Forces ESPN To Change Bowl Schedule

Jordan Bondurant

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The NFL flex scheduling an upcoming Las Vegas Radiers game out of Sunday Night Football on December 18 has forced ESPN to make a slight adjustment with its college bowl season schedule. But the change was something the worldwide leader was prepared to make.

The Raiders were originally scheduled to play the New England Patriots in the primetime window a week before Christmas, but with both teams losing ground in terms of the AFC playoff picture, NBC opted to go with a different game that night instead. Now fans will be tuning in to see the rematch between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.

The shift out of the Sunday night window for the Raiders forced ESPN to swap kickoff times for the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl the day before on December 17. Florida and Oregon State will play in Vegas at 2:30 p.m. eastern, with BYU and SMU facing off in Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m.

The switch allows workers at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas enough time to switch the venue over from college bowl game to Raiders home game.

“We are accustomed to flexibility and we anticipated having to maneuver our event schedules based on the possibility of the Raiders game being flexed,” said ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby.

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Sports TV News

FOX Scores Most-Watched PAC-12 Championship Game Ever

Jordan Bondurant

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Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game between Utah and USC drew the largest audience in the game’s history, according to FOX.

Over 6.2 million tuned in to watch the Utes dominate the Trojans 47-24 and dash USC’s hopes at making the College Football Playoff.

The network said viewership was up 45% compared to the 2021 title game, which aired on ABC and also featured Utah. The Utes won the conference crown in convincing fashion that year too, posting a 38-10 victory over Oregon.

The Pac-12 will be without USC and UCLA as member schools following the 2023 season. The Trojans and the Bruins will join the Big Ten in 2024.

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