Jul 12, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark speaks to the press during Big 12 football media day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The following is a transcript of Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark’s annual Football Media Day address on Wednesday in Dallas.
BRETT YORMARK: I appreciate everyone making the effort to attend Big 12 football media days. Thank you, members of the media, for your coverage, and most importantly for your fairness during my first year.
This is a big moment for the conference, as we welcome four new members to their first Big 12 Media Days.
I’d like to also extend a welcome to the Big 12 leadership team and staff that are here today. I truly appreciate their support during my first year and the incredible job all of you have done.
We have a lot of special guests in attendance. I want to personally thank ESPN, FOX, our bowl partners for joining us today. To those who are watching live on ESPNU and Big 12 Now on ESPN+ or listening on Sirius XM Big 12 radio, a big welcome.
This event kicks off our first-ever season as a 14-team league. We plan to use this season to celebrate the incredible strength we have going forward with our eight continuing members, our four incoming members, and also to celebrate the impact that Texas and Oklahoma have had on this conference since day one.
I would also like to acknowledge that the Big 12 lost a true friend. In memory of Dallas Morning News college sports reporter Chuck Carlton who passed in April and his longtime association with the Big 12 and the numerous events he covered over the years, we have dedicated a workspace here at media days in his honor. Although I didn’t really know Chuck, I do know that he was held in the highest regard around the league.
It’s hard to imagine that one year ago I stood before you for the first time. 12 months later, we have much to celebrate. Starting with our on-field success.
TCU’s CFP run will be remembered for capturing the attention of the college football world from coast to coast, going from starting the season unranked to playing in the National Championship game.
Eight of our ten teams played in bowl games.
In basketball, 70 percent of men’s teams and 60 percent of our women’s programs played in the NCAA tournament this past season, affirming the Big 12 as the top basketball conference in America.
We had two teams in the field of eight for the Women’s College World Series, and six of our nine
baseball-playing programs in the NCAA postseason.
We were well represented in this year’s NFL Draft. 30 players selected, plus 10 from our incoming members.
The Big 12 was the only conference to have at least half of its teams produce a first-round pick, with six total
Through the course of the athletic year, conference teams won four National Championships. Additionally, Big 12 student-athletes claimed 23 individual national titles.
As many of you know, when I took this job, I did not have a background in college athletics. I relied on the advice and guidance of many people that helped coach me through my first year.
Heading into year two, I still have a lot to learn. One of the steadiest hands that has helped me along the way is former Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. He has left a lasting legacy, not only for this conference but for college athletics.
In recognition of his contributions, the Big 12 Board of Directors established the Bob Bowlsby Award. The award will be presented annually as selected by the conferences’ athletic directors to the top female and male athletes of the Big 12.
As the conference’s highest honor, it is presented to the male and female athlete that best represents the characteristics of leadership and excellence, on and off the field of competition.
This year’s winners of the inaugural Bob Bowlsby Award are Ashley Joens, Iowa State women’s basketball, and Max Duggan, TCU football. Let’s give them both a big hand.
Each will be formally recognized by Bob and presented with their award at a home game this season.
In addition to the great success we have had on the field, we’ve also built tremendous momentum off it. We have accomplished a lot over the last 11 plus months.
Everything we did could not have been accomplished without the incredible support of a lot of people.
I’m so fortunate to have a great staff at the Big 12, and I also appreciate the support of the conferences four governance groups: Presidents, ADs, which many are here today, and thank you, guys, for your incredible support, FARs and SWAs.
I would like to thank outgoing board of directors chair Lawrence Schovanec for his guidance, support, his wisdom, and most importantly, for his incredible friendship.
I’d also like to welcome incoming board chair Linda Livingstone.
Let’s not forget during last year’s media days event, I announced that the Big 12 was open for business. Since then, we’ve jumped ahead of the line and extended TV agreements with existing partners through 2031, creating tremendous stability and clarity for this conference.
We accelerated Texas and OU withdrawal, which was a win-win for all parties. We completed an organizational redesign.
We formed a business advisory board made up of some of the finest sea-level executives in this country. We announced Big 12 pro day with our partner, the NFL.
We hosted our first ever business summit, which was a collaboration among our member institutions to share best practices.
We announced Big 12 Mexico.
We brought our commercial business in house.
We introduced enhancements to our championship events throughout the year by tapping into influencers, connecting with culture, and establishing premium offerings, all while driving incremental revenue for our member institutions.
We have reconnected and galvanized our fan base like never before.
Year over year social media growth has been through the roof this athletic season. The conference has gained nearly 100,000 new followers. That’s a 309 percent increase year over year. We have the second most Twitter and Instagram followers of any conference in America.
Next week we are taking 11 of our men’s and women’s head basketball coaches to Rucker Park to conduct a series of youth clinics in one of America’s most iconic playgrounds.
Lastly, I’ve been actively engaged with my A5 colleagues and NCAA president Charlie Baker on Capitol Hill.
It’s been a very busy 11 months, but it’s not necessarily about where we’ve been. For all of us, it’s about where we’re going.
As we look forward, we will continue to innovate, create, and positively disrupt, living at the intersections of culture, sports and business.
We recently completed a conference-wide strategic plan. The first one since 2011. Areas of emphasis include academics and student-athlete well-being and experience, which includes the formation of a student-athlete health and well-being cabinet.
Commercial business initiatives to diversity and drive revenue forward.
Storytelling like never before, with a focus on student-athletes and campus leaders.
From a competition standpoint, we are always looking for ways to improve our officiating programs and ensuring they’re beyond reproach and the in-game experience for all participants and fans alike.
Continued development of our international strategy, as we plan for our December ’24 Mexico launch.
As a conference, we will celebrate cultural moments and strive to become deeply rooted in the DFW community. We are also looking to double down on our championship host sites, for basketball, baseball and softball.
For football, I’m excited to announce an extension with AT&T Stadium through 2030 for the Big 12 Championship game.
We will continue in the pursuit of solutions with the NCAA,
none bigger than NIL.
Lastly, there will be a continued emphasis on the Big 12 brand, profile, and narrative.
That being said, today you are seeing a brand refresh, which is indicative of where this conference is going creatively. It will also serve as a runway to a new logo launch next year.
Today is part of that brand refresh. I would like to give you the first look at the conference’s new brand spot. Let’s take a look.
I love that spot so much. Can you play it for me again, please? One more time.
Key takeaways from the brand spot is to continue to live at the intersection of culture and sports, to connect with current and future student-athletes more than ever before, and begin to position the conference as greater than 12.
Now it’s time to talk football because that’s the reason why we’re all here today. First, I want to thank all of our coaches for their incredible support during my first year.
When I took this job, it was the first time I really experienced college football, and candidly, I’m hooked.
The Fiesta Bowl is one of my greatest sports moments, and sharing it with my two kids this year made it that much more special. Speaking of bowl games, we’re the only conference last season to send 80 percent of its teams to bowl games.
I believe we are once again the deepest conference in America, and I look forward to continuing to work with the two best television partners in college sports in ESPN and FOX to tell our story.
In working with our TV partners, we are looking for ways to innovate and create greater access to enhance the viewing experience for our fans from coast to coast. For the first time since the 2010 season, there will not be a round-robin scheduling format. I anticipate it will lead to exciting football until the last week of the season.
There’s a lot of excitement around this league. New members are exceeding their ticket sales goals, while existing members are doubling down on their investments in the sport.
We have some very compelling early season
non-conference match-ups, starting with the opening weekend when right here in the Metroplex TCU hosts Colorado in a FOX Big Noon telecast.
To my friends from FOX that are here today, I want to thank you for promoting us last night in the MLB All-Star Game. It shows the power of what FOX can do for this conference.
With the right results, we will be well-positioned for a playoff run this season. With this being the last season before the CFP format expands to 12 teams, and with the Sugar Bowl slated to be a semifinal host site, if our champion is not in the top 4, it is guaranteed a spot in a New Year’s Six game.
We have also added an eighth bowl game to our lineup this season with the addition of the Independence Bowl.
For the second consecutive year, the Big 12 Championship game was decided on the game’s last play. Six different teams have played in the game over the last three seasons.
Last year’s contest peaked as the highest rated conference championship game on television, all on the heels of a regular season where we saw a 10 percent year over year ratings increase.
As stated earlier, I am pleased to announce again the extension of our contract with AT&T Stadium to continue as our football championship host site through the 2030 game, and I must thank the Jones family as well as the Dallas Cowboys organization for their commitment to the Big 12.
Tickets for this year’s game will go on sale Saturday, August 12. For the first time, we will be introducing a halftime show, featuring a major artist and our school bands that will be part of the ABC game telecast.
The artist will be announced in conjunction with the August 12 ticket on-sale date.
We will also be introducing our first Hispanic radio broadcast of the Big 12 Championship game.
It’s been a great first year as Big 12 commissioner, and I am blessed to be in this position. Our future is very, very bright.
I am very happy with the progress we have made to date but not satisfied. There’s still a lot of work to be done.
With that said, I appreciate everyone being here today, and most importantly, I appreciate your support throughout the year.
Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll pause for a three-minute break and then reconvene for a moderated chat.
Q. We were up here a year ago, and the phrase that resonated when we left was hipper, younger, cooler. The Big 12 was going to be hipper, younger, cooler, be more contemporary. What can fans expect this year to go along with still be hipper, younger, cooler?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, I think this was our first year moving in that direction. We’ve seen a lot of change during our championship games. We’ve infused music. We’ve connected to culture in ways we haven’t before, and I think we’ll double down on that effort this year.
And you’re seeing it with our brand refresh. You’re seeing it with our new commercial. Our goal is to connect with Gen-Z. We want to get on the consciousness not of just current student-athletes, but future student-athletes, and getting younger is one way to do that, so we’re very excited about our direction.
Q. I can say for anyone who was in Kansas City for the Big 12 basketball tournament, that was unlike anything we’ve ever seen with entire Power and Light District coming alive. One of the changes that the NCAA made over this past year was more penalties for gambling. What is the Big 12 doing to help protect and educate the student-athletes around gambling?
BRETT YORMARK: It’s a big focus of our member institutions. We’re working with the NCAA obviously, but we’re going to double down on our partnership with U.S. Integrity. Critically important. We’ve been with U.S. Integrity since 2018, but given the current environment we need to go deeper with them. We need to educate our student-athletes.
But it’s not just our student-athletes, it’s our coaches, it’s really the whole ecosystem, our officials, so we’ll be doing that.
We’re also encouraging our member institutions to do a little bit more with U.S. Integrity.
Additionally, we will be announcing a data deal in the near future, and that’s in an effort for us to control how our data is being disseminated to third parties, and we’re excited about that, too.
But it’s a huge emphasis for us and one that we’re addressing.
Q. In the changing landscape of college athletics you also sat here last year and said you want to put a stake in the ground and protect the Big 12 marquee events. That said, this thing is ever-changing. What are you doing to protect the Big 12 footprint?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, we’ve identified certain championships. As I’ve said in my earlier comments, starting here in the DFW marketplace, doubling down with AT&T [Stadium] is critically important for us. It’s an aspirational venue, but we are also going to double down in baseball and softball and the key sports that are important to the conference, and we’re doing that.
It is a competitive landscape now. Parts of our geographic footprint, we’ve got to do what we need to do to protect our turf.
Q. To the question that every media member is sitting here wanting me to ask and everyone back home, let’s talk about expansion. What does expansion look like for the Big 12?
BRETT YORMARK: I feel like I’ve been talking about expansion for a year now. When I said we were open for business last year, I think people took that as, my God, this guy is new and he wants to go and disrupt, I guess, in some respects.
But indicative of my opening comments today, open for business was that we were going to explore every and all possibility to grow revenue, to diversify our conference, and to do things that hadn’t been done before. We did a lot of that.
Relative to expansion I said coming out of our spring business meetings at the Greenbrier that we have a plan, and we have a plan for expansion, and I’m not going to really address it today. You can ask me, but I’m not really going to address it. We do have a plan, and hopefully we can execute that plan sooner than later.
But as I’ve always said, I love the composition of this conference right now. The excitement the four new members have brought to this conference has been incredible, and if we stay at 12, we’re perfectly fine with that.
If the opportunity presents itself where there’s something that creates value and aligns well with our goals and
objectives, starting with the board, then we’re certainly going to pursue it.
Q. Expansion already began before you took the job for the Big 12, and on July 1 you added four new teams, and this will be a different year because Texas and OU are still here. Can you touch on the uniqueness about what this season will be having 14 teams?
BRETT YORMARK: I’m really excited about this season. In fact I think it’s going to be a year of celebration. We’re going to celebrate our continuing eight. We’re going to celebrate our new four. And in fact we’re going to celebrate Texas and Oklahoma and all the contributions they’ve made to this conference since day one, because they’ll always be a big part of this conference.
For me, it’s really a year of celebration, and we’re very excited about it.
Q. Brett, what’s been your feedback from your board and your athletic directors considering expansion with a non-Power Five member, which would not necessarily upgrade the impending media contract?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, from my perspective, we have great collaboration with the board and our athletic directors. Obviously there’s lots of different routes you can take with expansion. As I said, we have a plan.
But as it relates to a school that’s a non-Power Five, if they create value and they align well with our goals and objectives, it’s a conversation we’ll consider having.
The great thing about my board and my AD partnership is that we collaborate all the time, and we can agree to disagree on certain things, and we have throughout the year. I’ve learned a lot from both governance groups.
But again, if within the value equation there’s alignment, Power Five or non-Power Five, we’ll look to pursue it.
Q. Brett, in terms of pecking order in the Power Five, where would you say the Big 12 is positioned right now and for the future, and would it be better for the league if maybe somebody besides Texas and Oklahoma didn’t win football this year?
BRETT YORMARK: So from my perspective, and I’ve said this before, I’m not really competing with the other Power Five conferences. I want the Big 12 to be the best version of ourselves. If we can do that, we’re in a great place.
It’s not about ranking us within the Power Five, but I can
tell you this: There’s been no better time to be a part of the Big 12 than right now. This thing is going to grow. It’s going to move forward in a positive way. I’m really excited about our future.
Q. Going off that, what specific things will be difficult maybe to replicate with Oklahoma and Texas leaving, whether it’s the Red River game, just the tradition of those schools, and how do you plan to replace those things?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, listen, they have great identity. They’re national brands. They’re a big part of the history of this conference.
But like I said last year, this conference is bigger than any two schools. We’re in a great place. There’s never been a better time than right now to be involved with this conference, and I’m excited about our future.
Q. When you visited Central Florida a couple months ago you mentioned how important it was to have UCF as Florida’s flagship school in this conference. What are your thoughts on what UCF has been doing since you visited and how important is the flagship effort in one of the biggest states in the country?
BRETT YORMARK: UCF has done a fantastic job. They’re ready for this moment. They’ve galvanized their fan base. I love how they think about brand. They’ve done an incredible job recruiting and leveraging the halo of the Big 12 over the last couple years.
As you said, it’s an important market for us on many fronts, and we’re excited to have them in the conference. It’s a big moment for us. It’s a big moment for them.
Q. Could you speak to football scheduling philosophies, what went into this year’s — it’s the first year in a while that there will be some teams avoided on the schedule. What went into the philosophy and what might it look like going forward?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, I don’t have a crystal ball on what it’s going to look like moving forward, but I think a lot went into the scheduling this year.
Scott Draper and his team did a lot of due diligence. We vetted out a lot of scenarios with our ADs. I think we came up with a great schedule based on travel, based on trying to maintain some rivalries, and I’m really excited about this year’s schedule on many fronts.
Q. You mentioned in your opening statement one of your achievements was accelerating withdrawal of OU.
Tell us what those negotiations were like trying to get OU out early, what was that back and forth like, and how long did it take for those negotiations to come to an end?
BRETT YORMARK: I’ve got a great partnership with the folks at Texas and Oklahoma. When there’s mutual respect and when you’re looking for a win-win scenario, those negotiations don’t really take that long.
We all wanted the same thing, and we got there. I’m happy for them. I’m happy for us. We brought closure to an issue that was highly discussed this time last year, and I’m happy we did.
Q. I’m curious, you talked about the Big 12, this being a year of celebration. Is the Big 12 planning to do anything in conjunction with Iowa State, which is celebrating 100 years of the Jack Trice legacy?
BRETT YORMARK: That’s a great question. I was not aware of that. I speak to Jamie Pollard quite often, and it’s something that he and I will have to discuss. But thank you for bringing that to my attention. Thank you.
Q. I have a question regarding your talks on Capitol Hill and NIL. Can you speak to what the conference’s position is on that and what you’re trying to get across on Capitol Hill?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, thank you for the question. Obviously it’s an issue that we’re all addressing. I’m working very closely with my A5 colleagues and Charlie Baker. I have spent time on Capitol Hill. We would like federal legislation to create some uniformity to NIL. There’s 32 states, and in many cases very different interpretations, so federal preemption of state law is certainly something that’s high on the list. There are other components, as well, that go along with it.
But we are addressing it as an industry and in partnership with many of the conferences and the NCAA. But great question, and thank you.
Q. You mentioned early about doubling down with some of the conference championships. Our state has a big interest in softball. Can you expand on what you mean by doubling down on those championships?
BRETT YORMARK: Extending current agreements and making sure that our current homes are homes that we have for the foreseeable future, in core strategic markets.
Obviously our softball championship site is one of them. Thank you for that question.
Q. Kind of following up, I was going to ask about Kansas City. That was your first experience with the basketball. Do you foresee that being a long-term home for the basketball championship?
BRETT YORMARK: You know, this is my first time spending significant time in Kansas City. I went there with lots of different thoughts. Came away hugely impressed. We don’t have to share our voice that market like Kansas City during our basketball championship. If you look at some of the other markets, there’s multiple conference championships going on at the same time, and the fan base in and around Kansas City, the community, they really embrace this tournament.
Obviously next year our women’s championship moves to T-Mobile, which we’re extremely excited about, so when I think about Kansas City now, I certainly think about that market and that championship as one that I’d like to double down on, and we are in conversations with local officials on extending that agreement, as well.
Thank you for the question.
Q. Brett, I wanted to ask you, in terms of BYU being on the western flank of this conference, do you have hopes to find another broadcast partner out in the mountain or Pacific time zones at some point?
BRETT YORMARK: Another broadcast partner?
Q. Another institution, I guess, to pair with BYU in that late TV window.
BRETT YORMARK: First of all, we love BYU. Excited about them coming into the conference. They bring a different time zone, obviously, which is great for us. We’re the only conference in America that’s in three time zones.
But right now, there’s nothing on the board. Again, we’ll explore all options, but until that point, we love the current makeup and we’re excited about it, but thank you for the question.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about how important it was to bring the Houston market back in with the University of Houston, and maybe in the future the University of Houston athletics just bringing that back into the fold?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, listen, Houston is a top 10 market; critically important to us. Great heritage and legacy. When you think about Houston in general, excited that they’re part of the Big 12. I know that was something
they wanted to be a part of for a long time.
Obviously football drives the day, but I love their basketball program. They’re one of the top programs in America, and football is very strong, too.
We’re excited about their entry into the conference. Excited to be in a market like Houston. It’s vibrant. It’s young. It’s top 10. Delivers a lot of households. We’re really excited about it.
Q. When you look at the future of the Big 12 with the departures of Texas and Oklahoma, with other conferences addressing permanent rivals, would you have that conversation with teams, and if so, would athletic directors have a say on who they would like as part of their permanent rival?
BRETT YORMARK: First of all, I defer to my subject matter expert, Scott Draper, who runs football, anything football, and I’m still learning a lot. That being said, the ADs and the conference are very collaborative. No decision gets made without vetting it out with our ADs and having that transparency. So certainly something we’ll consider, and we’ll do it with our ADs.
Q. Obviously you guys finalized your television contract. What parts of the contract within it are maybe non-linear or on different days of the week? What other aspects are there to this contract?
BRETT YORMARK: I think it’s been made pretty public. Listen, it’s heavy on the linear, certainly has a digital component. FOX is now involved in basketball, which is extremely exciting.
We will explore different days of the week for football games, Thursday and Friday. But most importantly, just going early was critically important for this conference, giving us the stability and the clarity, and as we all know, there’s some challenges in the media market today.
More importantly than all of that is the promotional and marketing prowess of ESPN and FOX and what they can do to build the brands of our member institutions as well as this conference. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that we went early and that we have doubled down with ESPN and FOX.
Candidly, I love the fact that they bet yes for the Big 12. Exciting times.
Q. Commissioner, what was the thought process
between Big 12 Mexico and having the exhibitions there, and how do you all plan to expand into the Hispanic media market?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, great question, and I had a history working in Mexico. I took the Brooklyn Nets there in 2016 and had a wonderful experience, and when I took this job and started thinking about our international strategy, I just didn’t want to do a one-off. We had different markets around the world coming to us saying, hey, would you like to do a conference game.
What we decided as a collective group is to be a little bit more strategic, and when you look at Mexico, it’s an ideal extension to our geographic footprint. When you look at the makeup of many of our member institutions, connecting with the Hispanic community is critically important.
As I said earlier today, we will offer Hispanic radio for the Big 12 Championship game for the first time, and select football and basketball games this year will be on ESPN Deportes as well as FOX Deportes and ESPN has also made a commitment to air select football and basketball games in Mexico to start seeding the collective brands of the Big 12.
We think it’s a huge initiative for us and one we’re very excited about. Thank you for that question.
Q. With regards to NIL and the work that you’re doing on Capitol Hill, how are you balancing that work as well as trying to use NIL strategy to attract the Gen-Z next generation of student-athletes?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, leaving a lot of what’s happening on a campus to my ADs, but I don’t think that NIL really plays a role in attracting Gen-Z. We’re attracting Gen-Z, notwithstanding NIL. So are our member institutions.
Much of what you’re hearing today and what’s unfolding in front of your eyes with the brand refresh, how we’re enhancing and modernizing our championships, how we’re creating creative spots to connect with youth culture and that Gen-Z demographic, those are the ways that we are attracting Gen-Z, and I feel very comfortable with our approach. It’s not about NIL.
Q. How do you envision the four newcomers elevating the brand of this conference and maybe vice versa, the brand of this conference elevating the newcomers?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, I mean, if you were on social media on July 1, you saw the power of those four brands and how they engaged with fans, how they think about brand, and how they think about social media.
We’re excited to be partnered with those four new schools.
We’re now in eight states. We reach over 75 million people in our footprint now with the help of those four schools.
They bring a lot of value to this conference, and we’re, again, very excited to have them.
Q. In a similar vein to the last question, can you talk about the potential that you see in these four schools, what you like there, and how the conference, what the role of the Big 12 is to help these four schools have even more success than they have?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, I mean, I think I answered the question of what I think about the four schools, but I will tell you we serve our member institutions and we’re engaged them on a daily basis. To the extent that we can help them elevate and amplify what they do and how they do it, that’s our role.
I think we’ve started doing that already. We have great collaboration.
Listen, let’s face it. It’s been a bit of a step for them up to the Big 12. But they’ve embraced it, they’re investing behind it, and they’re collaborating. So again, excited to have the four schools, and they’re doing a great job.
Q. A quick question about the agreement with AT&T to extend the Big 12 Championship game being here in the metroplex. What’s the significance of keeping it here as opposed to moving it to an alternative location?
BRETT YORMARK: It’s a world-class venue, probably the finest venue in America. We have great partnership with AT&T Stadium and the Dallas Cowboys and the entire organization, and it’s kind of nice that we start our season here effectively and end it here.
In speaking to some of the student-athletes that are here today, this place is very aspirational. So doubling down on that partnership, critically important for us and very happy about it. But thank you for the question.
Q. I’ve heard you say that you wanted the conference to stay at 14 members even after this season. Can you expand on why you like 14 compared to 12 or 16?
BRETT YORMARK: I did say 14, you’re absolutely right. I do think there’s strength in numbers.
But I also said we’re not chasing a number. If and when the opportunity presents itself to stay at 14, we’ll pursue it. But I did say that, and I backpedaled a little bit because I realize it’s not about chasing a number. It’s all about creating value for membership. We’ll see where that takes us.
But thank you for that question.
Q. On the sale of data rights, does that go into
next-generation type data like speed tracking, all those kind of things that different schools are doing now, or is it just traditional data? And how do you balance that against your stated desire to prevent that from assisting gambling?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, first of all, I’ll say it’s more traditional, but we’re working with our selected partner on how broad we can go.
I do think controlling how our data is disseminated and gathered is critically important with our overall strategy. There are data collectors that are unofficially in our venues right now collecting data and selling it to third parties, and that’s happening all over the country. Our data deal will afford us an opportunity to control that, and that’s what we’re pursuing.
Thank you for that question.
Q. With your background in professional sports, it seems like some of the moves you’ve made, the halftime performances, the Hispanic broadcast, expansions, follow that pro sports prototype. Why did you feel like those were the right enhancements for this conference?
BRETT YORMARK: Well, it’s a great question. I think many of my skill sets have been transferrable into this role. We’re in the business of building brands and businesses and connecting to consumers and providing great fan experiences. All these things I’ve done before. Obviously I’ve had a lot to learn, and I continue to have a lot to learn.
But I do think some of the things that we discussed today as a recap of what we’ve done over the last 12 months are indicative of things I’ve done before, and I think they’re very transferrable to our space.
When I look back on this first year, I’m thrilled with our progress, thrilled about everything we’ve done and will continue to do. But we’re only getting started. For those that have said, my God, you guys have accomplished a lot during this year, I can tell you we’re just getting started.
There’s a lot more to do.
But thank you for that question.
Q. Going off that question, you said there’s still a lot to do. You came in here guns ablazing; business is open. What more do you guys have to do to get to where you wanted to go coming into this conference?
BRETT YORMARK: I mean, more initiatives, continuing to build the profile and the narrative, making sure we’re getting on the consciousness of future student-athletes and current student-athletes.
Obviously building our revenue, that’s a big part of it. We’ve got lots of ways that we’re going to do that, exciting opportunities in front of us.
There’s a lot to do. Leverage the capability and influence of ESPN and FOX and their broad reach to broaden our fan base from coast to coast. There’s a lot of work to do. We only laid the foundation this year.
Q. When you do consider the prospect of future expansion into Thursday and Friday, how do you kind of weigh the interests of television exposure versus those of potential in-person attendees to the games?
BRETT YORMARK: It’s a great question. We collaborate with our ADs. We don’t do anything without the input and the sign-off from our ADs and our board. I will tell you that it’s very hot during the summer months, especially in the fall, so playing on a Friday night versus a Saturday morning does have its benefits.
When you think about the tonnage of college football on air on a Saturday, it provides a lot of opportunity for us to kind of build our profile on a Friday night.
But there’s a lot that goes into that decision. You’re absolutely right. It’s not just about visibility, it’s all about the fans and what’s right for our schools and their campuses.
All that is part of the consideration set in how we move forward.
Thank you for your question.