Knowing that ESPN and FOX Sports have several years remaining on their existing linear TV rights deals, and that the language in the release seems to indicate that the content wasn't coming from those agreements, one could likely deduce that the sole football game each school provides is their member retained game. So once I saw the announcement, and credit to the person who heard on WV radio that this was tipped off on Sunday, I was thrown for a loop & tried to get some information on the matter.
What I have been able to confirm
- I received an official statement from ESPN: “We’ve been able to work with the Big 12 conference and the schools to bring this game to Big 12 Now on ESPN+”.
- It was not sublicensed from FOX Sports. A second source corroborates that it wasn't a sublicense.
- Kansas, who posted the following on the Big 12 Now content last Wednesday, didn't seem to have any idea on this possibility.
What I don't quite know
- Did ESPN's pool of selections increase? It is my understanding that it is one of their 23 selections to use over the course of the season, per one party involved.
- Regardless of whether the pool of selections increased or decreased, are there minimum and/or maximum number of football games that can air through ESPN+ instead of linear TV? There's a range of games that can air on ESPNU (3-5 games), a minimum that must air on FOX broadcast network and another minimum for FS1 (6 games on both networks), and a number that must air across ABC, ESPN, FOX and FS1 (25 games). So it would stand to reason that a number would exist for ESPN+.