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The ‘Big’ in Big 12 Could Soon Be Replaced With a Sponsor’s Name

  • The power conference is considering selling its naming rights.
  • Private equity money could also enter the Big 12.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 is exploring what would be two of the most significant changes to the college conference models to date. Under consideration are selling the conference’s naming rights to a sponsor, as well as a private equity deal with CVC Capital Partners, Front Office Sports confirmed after several eye-opening reports Thursday.

With the Big Ten and SEC continuing to separate themselves financially, the Big 12 is thinking about taking unprecedented measures to close that growing gap, a source told FOS. However, the conversations are still only in exploratory stages.

Here’s What We Know

Allstate is said to be in discussions about a deal with the Big 12 worth between $30 million and $50 million annually, according to Action Network. Name possibilities include “The Big Allstate Conference” or “The Allstate 12 Conference.” 

The idea of selling conference naming rights was formally introduced by Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark at league meetings last month, according to Yahoo! Sports. Additionally, Conference USA is exploring a multimillion-dollar naming-rights sponsorship with Globe Life, per Yahoo!

Meanwhile, CVC Capital Partners could invest $800 million to $1 billion in exchange for a 15% to 20% stake in the Big 12, according to CBS Sports. 

Shifting Landscape

The Big 12 selling its naming rights would give the conference name a similar feel to many college bowl games. And while that would be a new frontier for any singular college conference, many leagues around the world already have title sponsors. In the U.S., there is the NTT IndyCar Series; in the U.K. there is the Barclays Women’s Super League; and in France, there is the newly rebranded Ligue 1 McDonald’s, to name a few.

On the capital investment front, CVC has made similar cash injections in the commercial operations of other sports properties like the WTA, LaLiga, and Premiership Rugby, among others.

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