Bowlsby Knows How The Game Is Played

TV money is important.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby has a problem with the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN unit. Bowlsby or Big 12 lawyers sent Disney’s ESPN a cease-and-desist letter which states that ESPN “has taken certain actions that are intended to not only harm the Big 12 Conference but to result in financial benefits for ESPN.” Disney’s ESPN says that is not true. But the lawyers might be sending both the Big 12 and Disney billable hours invoices if the Big 12 does intend to pursue a case that ESPN did interfere with Big 12 business. ESPN and FOX have the Big 12 television rights. The Big 12 is losing two schools, Texas and Oklahoma in 2025 as the presidents or chancellors of the two schools have decided the Southeastern Conference offers better financial opportunities for them. Television networks play a major role in how sports operates and college conference realignments in the 21st century have been based on the needs of television and television money. Bowlsby also claimed that Disney’s ESPN has been pushing the American Athletic Conference  to try and lure between three and five Big 12 members to join the group and Bowlsby thinks the AAC would reap benefits from Disney’s ESPN with “future television proceeds”.

Big time college sports operates similar to Major League sports in America. The schools depend on government to build or renovate stadiums and arenas, especially state schools, television and corporate support. The Cable TV Act of 1984 essentially socialized cable TV in that subscribers took everything offered to get channels the subscribed wanted while paying for channels they did not want in an expanded tier and that brought big money into college programs. Texas has its own television network. Without Texas and Oklahoma, the Big 12 isn’t too alluring for big TV rights. That’s how it is in college sports.

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(AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)