The Big 12 snowball is turning into an avalanche.
Texas and Oklahoma announced today that they are not renewing their grants of media rights following their expiration in 2025, according to a joint statement released by both schools. This declaration is the first step in the two schools leaving the conference they helped create for the SEC.
No official invite to join has been extended by the SEC yet as the two schools continue conversations with their current conference that began this weekend.
“Providing notice to the Big 12 at this point is important in advance of the expiration of the conference’s current media rights agreement,” the statement said. “The universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements. However, both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate athletics landscape as they consider how best to position their athletics programs for the future.”
While the league holds the schools’ rights until 2025, there is no guarantee that they stick around that long. Schools are assessed a $75-80 million penalty upon breaking their agreements early, but those figures could be made up and then some by 2025 under an SEC media deal.
If Texas and Oklahoma formally ask the SEC for membership, then the Southeastern Conference would need to vote on the additions. For the schools to get in, 11 of the 14 school Presidents need to say yes.
A domino effect could ensue if the two schools pull the plug on the Big 12.
The AAC has already shown interest in bringing stragglers in under their current TV deal with ESPN. All of this comes on the heels of the burbling 12-team college football playoff. Every conference wants as much of that annual $1 billion pie as possible. The Power Five is at risk because of the new format, and the Big 12’s future is on shaky ground in what could soon be a Power Four world in college sports.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Miami Marlins Continue Broadcast Changes, Drop J.P. Arencibia
The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida.
After announcing last week that Miami Marlins play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner wouldn’t return to the booth next year, the club continues to make changes. J.P. Arencibia won’t return as an analyst for the club in 2023.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Arencibia was informed he will no longer work on either the team’s television or radio broadcasts next season. The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida. It was his first season as a television analyst. According to Jackson, the reason for Arencibia’s departure is “unclear”, adding a reason “was not offered”.
The club will continue to use a rotation of analysts in 2023, with Jeff Nelson, Gaby Sanchez, Rod Allen, and Tommy Hutton working in the booth.
Arencibia was brought on for the 2022 season after the Marlins dropped former Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth from the clubs televisions broadcasts after the previous season concluded.
Rebecca Lobo Signs Extension With ESPN
She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.
ESPN and Rebecca Lobo have signed an extension to keep the women’s basketball legend with the network.
Lobo joined ESPN in 2004 as a WNBA and women’s college basketball analyst. She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.
“I am thrilled to continue doing what I love, calling women’s basketball games,” said Lobo. “It is an honor to be a part of the soundtrack for the games played by these incredible female athletes.”
Lobo had a storied career at UConn before winning an Olympic Gold Medal. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
“Rebecca is one of the best in the business. She excels on both game coverage and studio coverage,” said Patricia Lowry, ESPN Vice President, Production. “Her knowledge, history, and passion for the game and its growth continue to make us better. She is a true asset and a highly valued member of our team.”
ESPN Reaches Extension To Remain Home of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
“It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year.”
ESPN and the International Federation of Competitive Eating have agreed to a deal that will see the network remain the home of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on the 4th of July.
The Major League Eating contest has aired on the network since 2004. The new contract will see the event take place on ESPN through the 2029 event.
“You can’t beat the spectacle that is the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest,” said ESPN Director of Programming & Acquisitions John Suchenski. “It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year. It has had memorable moments over the years, and we’re ecstatic that many more will be on our platforms for the foreseeable future.”
The event has risen to prominence during its tenure with the Disney-owned network, seeing the rivalry between Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut grow into one of national prominence. The rivalry even sparked an ESPN documentary on the subject. Chestnut has grown into an American celebrity for his performance during the contest, winning his 15th mustard-yellow belt in 2022.
“We’re thrilled to extend our agreement with ESPN and ensure that viewers will continue to join in this great July Fourth tradition. ESPN is a fantastic broadcast partner and they capture the spirit of the event perfectly.”