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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Colorado’s Reported Big 12 Move Shows Growing Influence of Media Rights

  • Colorado will reportedly join the Big 12 in 2024 leaving the Pac-12 with just nine teams.
  • The move likely signals the Pac-12 is having a hard time finding a new media-rights partner.
Folsom Field has never hosted a sellout spring game.
Colorado Athletics

Colorado’s long-rumored move to the Big 12 is hurtling toward reality, further solidifying the growing influence of media-rights fees in college football.

On Wednesday, the Big 12 voted to welcome Colorado as a full member in 2024, according to multiple reports. A second Colorado Board of Regents meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. ET, and it’s possible that CU submits an official application to join the Big 12 if its regents vote to depart the Pac-12.

Complete financial details remain unclear, but Colorado will receive a full share of the Big 12’s media rights fees next year, which amounts to $31.7 million, according to the Action Network. In 2025, a new $2.28 billion contract with ESPN and Fox kicks in that’s set to pay the conference an average of $380 million annually through 2031.

The Pac-12 declined comment to Front Office Sports, and the Big 12 has not responded to a request for comment. 

It’s likely Colorado saw the writing on the wall that the Pac-12 likely won’t surpass or even reach the same revenue numbers as the Big 12 after its current media deal — also with ESPN and Fox, and worth $250 million annually — ends after this season.

Who’s Next?

The Big 12 is assumed to be adding a 14th team before next season, as well. Pac-12 schools like Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State — as well as the Big East’s UConn — have been suggested as potential targets.

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