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Brett Yormark talks media deal, strength of the conference at Big 12 Media Days

The commissioner discussed a wide variety of topics in his opening remarks at the Big 12 Conference Basketball Tipoff.
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The Big 12 Conference Basketball Tipoff got started today, as the women's basketball teams from around the conference converged on Kansas City to preview the upcoming season.

But before any of the teams came to the stage, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark took the stage to discuss changes being made for the conference and how the updated messages are being received.

A "National" conference

Yormark talked many times about wanting to take the conference "national" When asked about what that means, he mentioned that the conference will begin marketing itself as a destination, with multiple great options for prospective student athletes to consider as they decide where to attend college. 

To help with that, he indicated that the conference is planning to increase their exposure through multiple efforts, starting with the newly announced partnership with independent creative agency Translation to help craft additional marketing strategies.

Some specific initiatives mentioned included an increase in the media blitzes happening in major metropolitan areas across the country, similar to the recent efforts in New York City that saw Yormark give Eric Adams a Kansas jersey to remind him of their brand. Additionally, he indicated that the conference is exploring possible avenues to bring the Big 12 to places outside of the current footprint as a way to market the conference. He did specifically rule out the championship events, at least at the current time. However, there was an implication that other events explored might include the possibility of playing conference games in neutral locations.

Media deal timing and amount looking favorable

One of the biggest questions surrounding the conference is the size of their new media deal once it has been completed, and there have been multiple reports that the Big 12 may need to prepare for a reduced number once Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC.

Yormark pushed back against that notion, indicating that he expects that number to "go up significantly" when the deal is finalized. The conference is also looking at other ways to expand media access and compensation outside of the traditional TV deal.

As for the timing, he indicated that there are very specific things that he is looking for from an early extension, including access for women's sports and other ways to highlight the student athletes in the conference. He didn't share any specifics of what he is looking for, and the economics of the deal have to make sense, but the conference is prepared to let the negotiation go to the originally scheduled exclusive bargaining window if needed.

However, Yormark expects the media deal to be completed "before long", and everyone recognizes the value in getting a deal finalized sooner rather than later.

Conference is in a great situation

Yormark took some time to highlight the strength of the Big 12 conference, including some pretty significant accomplishments last season:

  • Multiple national championships across the 23 sports offered
  • Football attendance and engagement is up across the conference.
  • College GameDay at Kansas was the highest rated one this season
  • 5 teams ranked in the Men's Top 25 and 4 teams in the Women's Top 25 in the preseason.
  • Big 12 basketball is by far the best conference in the nation.

The conference has set itself up in a very good position competitively, and as Yormark remarked, "it's going to get better this year."

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