LAS COLINAS, Texas — Big 12 Conference CEOs have approved the return of a football championship game.
OU president David Boren and commissioner Bob Bowlsby said during a news conference on Friday that the league will implement a title game beginning in 2017. The first game will be televised by Fox and broadcast rights will alternate each year with ESPN.
The league stands to make some $30 million from the addition of a championship game. It also enhances the Big 12’s ability to land a team in the College Football Playoff as well.
“The data was very, very compelling,” Boren said.
The league, however, will continue examining its membership. Expansion is still on the table, and it’s not clear to anyone if the 2017 title game will be played under the auspices of a 10-team conference with a round-robin schedule, a 10-team league with two five-team divisions and a round robin schedule, a 10-team league with two divisions and an eight-game schedule, or additional permutations involving 12 or 14 or even 16 teams.
Also, Boren and Bowlsby said there will be no Big 12 television network in the traditional sense because of the volatility of the industry. As sports viewership evolves with various streaming platforms and handheld devices, the league may explore additional opportunities.
The Big 12 also announced a record revenue distribution of $304 million for fiscal year 2014-15. That’s $30.4 million per school, with West Virginia and TCU joining the others as full members. That figure ranks behind the SEC and the Big Ten, Bowlsby said, but ahead of the ACC and the Pac-12.