The conference already has announced plans to start a football championship game next year, which could mean another $25 million to $30 million in revenue. Absent a conference channel, the only other way for the Big 12 to significantly grow revenue in the near term is to add schools and activate that pro rata clause in its media contracts.
That kind of cash grab, sources say, is rubbing ESPN and Fox the wrong way because any new schools would not carry the profile of most power five schools, which is what the networks are paying for.
If ESPN and Fox were willing to pay an extra $50 million, they’d already be paying it to the AAC, BYU, or CUSA. This tells us that it is correct to think the bubble is close to bursting and that this conference realignment will not be so easy as declaring a move.