Thursday, April 14, 2011
Aggies AD weighs in on Big 12 Network
By ESPN.com staff
The league's members voted unanimously in favor of the new television deal with Fox Sports, but when it comes to fans, Texas A&M has replaced Nebraska as the group most discontent with their program's membership in the Big 12.
Despite strong fan support backing the program accepting a reported invitation to the SEC during last summer's conference realignment, A&M officials chose to remain in the Big 12.
Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne wrote on Texas A&M's website the new deal now paves a way for the development of a Big 12 Network, which has stalled while the league negotiated the price of its second-tier media rights with Fox.
"Some of you believe we’ve really dropped the ball on this one. I would disagree," Byrne wrote. "What we have been waiting on is for the Big 12 to finish negotiations with Fox for the conference second tier rights so we would know what we have available for a third tier network. As of today, that second tier rights agreement has been finalized, and we are very excited about Fox’s commitment to the Big 12."
At its spring game, Texas announced details and August launch plans for the Longhorn Network in conjunction with ESPN, but a similar network Oklahoma hoped to launch is still in the early stages of development and if it becomes a reality, won't do so until 2012.
"Now, we can move ahead with our third tier rights plan," Byrne wrote. "I’ve said before, and I continue to believe today, that our best option for a television network is through a combined effort of the remaining nine members of our conference who did not start their own cable channel. In the coming months, discussions will take place with other conference schools for a possible joint agreement, or we can opt to create our own network. At Texas A&M, we have the best of both worlds to choose from."