NOTEBOOK: Brett Yormark on TV windows, rights and more at Big 12 Media Days

Jul 9, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Big 12 Conference commissioner Brett Yormark speaks to the media during the Big 12 Media Days at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark took to the stage to kick off Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Here’s a synopsis of topics he hit on in quick hit form.

The future for the Big 12 in Las Vegas

I wasn’t sure what to lead this piece with, but I know if Cyclone fans are passionate about anything concerning the whole league, it’s keeping the Big 12 basketball tournaments in Kansas City.

That event’s contract was extended through 2031 during this year’s tournament – so it’s not high on the list of concerns for those against a move there, however Yormark said that the league’s presence in Las Vegas was incredibly important.

“Being in Vegas is critically important to us,” Yormark said. “Even before last year’s realignment. I said we had to be in Vegas and a little more west. This is the entertainment and sports capital of the world now. It’s incredibly important for our brand and business, and we’ll continue to explore opportunities to take some of our tent-pole events, champion events more to the West Coast if the opportunity presents itself and if it makes sense.”

Earlier while on stage, Yormark stated that media days moved to Las Vegas because of a conflict with AT&T Stadium in Dallas, which had hosted the event in recent years.

It does seem like Las Vegas will have more events with the conference in the future, though, and Yormark specifically mentioned being confident that the conference could soon add the Las Vegas Bowl to its rotation.

“I’m confident at the right time we will have a formal affiliation with the Las Vegas Bowl,” Yormark said. “This market is critically important. Scott Draper is working on that. But I’m very comfortable and confident in what that outcome will bring for our conference. We need to be here in Vegas for all the right reasons. I said it earlier, entertainment and sports capital of the world. So critically important market for us in the future.”

Scheduling Convenience and November

Now, with the everchanging landscape around collegiate sports – there’s concerns with the geographical convenience of where games are being played.

Arizona State is slated to travel 9,848 miles to its road games in 2024 and Utah isn’t far behind at 9,834 according to a report from CougsDaily. If you’re curious, Iowa State ranks 15th in the category at 5,742.

“No, convenience matters, it certainly does,” Yormark said. “That goes into the consideration set as we’re exploring different options.”

The hope there is that the lower-revenue sports, where most schedules aren’t yet released for the upcoming year, will be more limited in travel than the football programs.

Yormark also spoke about the Big 12’s slate of November games. As you know, Iowa State is set to face the pair of teams picked to finish the highest in the preseason poll in the final two weeks of the regular season in Utah and Kansas State.

The commissioner says the league will brand the final month of the season and brought up the Utah-BYU rivalry also set for that month.

“November will be incredibly exciting, and we will brand it as a race to the championship,” Yormark said.

Future TV rights

Yormark hit on the future of TV rights – and mentioned that his eyes are on setting the conference up to be in the best possible place come 2030 when the current Big 12 TV deal runs out.

“Well, first of all, as I mentioned earlier in my comments, we got stronger at basketball” Yormark said. “As good as we were, we got stronger. That being said, when we did our new TV deal, we gave ourselves optionality to think about the next cycle, and we’ll be back in the market in January of 2030. We have a lot of optionality. Do we go back into the market as we’ve historically done, or do we bifurcate football from basketball? Only time will tell.”

What that means is splitting up the rights to the sports’ TV packages and selling them as separate entities in an attempt to gain more revenue when the next cycle arrives.

“But I’m bullish on the whole deal,” Yormark said. “I’m bullish on football. I’m bullish on basketball. I’m bullish on Olympic sports, and everything we do now sets the tone for that moment in January of2030. With the help of ESPN and Fox, they will grow our brands, and they will grow our narrative and best position ourselves for that moment.”

One of the ideas Yormark brought up included that the league would be looking into non-traditional TV windows, as well.

Listen, all I can say on that is Saturday’s, there’s a lot going on, as we all know,” Yormark said. “A lot of competition. So the question is, are there new TV windows we can explore where we can highlight, elevate and amplify our football programs maybe a little differently? And we’re exploring that. There’s nothing that we have vetted out specifically that I want to discuss just right now, but we’re working at it, and we’ll see where it takes us. But we’ve got to kick the tires and figure out other windows that make sense and provide great engagement for our fans and great exposure for our programs, and it’s incumbent upon me to explore it, which I’m doing.”

Yormark also brought up that the conference is looking into a free-to-consumer ad-supported television channel or streaming service to fans at no cost.

The Dallas Stars became the first ‘big 4’ franchise to implement a ‘FAST channel’ days ago, inking a 7-year deal, although its only available to those in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

That could mean fans are watching Iowa State face a conference opponent in October on a Thursday night on whatever service it may end up on – keep in mind that’s if it happens at all, no guarantees there.


While it was reported that the Big 12 was looking for a title sponsor to grant naming rights to, and that Allstate was the leader in the clubhouse, no announcement was made considering that on Tuesday.

The Big 12, however, did agree to a partnership with Microsoft that will see its players and coaches alike using Microsoft-branded tablets in between plays 2024 and beyond.

This comes after Yormark stated that the sponsorship revenue in the league grew by 79 percent last season, ticket revenue was up to 23 percent, and that each program averaged at least 88 percent of fans according to their respective capacities – I don’t believe that number includes the former Pac 12 programs.

Big 12 Mexico

This is short and sweet: Big 12 Mexico is still being worked on, but the original deal to play a football game on international grounds fell through. Yormark said they’ve pivoted to launching Big 12 Mexico with women’s soccer and baseball, so if those events are successful, don’t be surprised to see others follow. Bolded launching because I saw some saying on Twitter that the league was only looking for that pair of sports.

I’ll leave you with this, and yes, I know that’s what these press conferences are for.