Big 12 to distribute record $470 million amid realignment

IRVING, Texas -- Big 12 schools will share in a record $470 million of revenue distribution, the conference announced Friday while wrapping up its first spring meetings as a 14-team league and before growing by two more universities.

While the 10 full-share members will get smaller amounts than they got last year because of the addition of the four schools that joined the league for the 2023-24 academic year, commissioner Brett Yormark said the conference is more relevant than it has ever been.

"We went with stability as a conference and we felt it was investing in all the right ways and for all the right reasons," Yormark said. "Clearly that was the right one for this conference as we think about where we're going."

First-year members BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF each will get partial shares of about $18 million each. That leaves about $398 million to be split among the league's other 10 schools, including Oklahoma and Texas before they move this summer to the Southeastern Conference.

About $440 million was distributed last year.

The Big 12 will grow to 16 teams with the additions of Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah from the Pac-12 officially on Aug. 1. The four incoming schools took part in this week's meetings, while Oklahoma and Texas did not.

Yormark said the increases came as a result of bigger College Football Playoff and bowl revenues, growth in ticket revenue across all of the conference championships and sponsorship after streamlining that to be handled directly by the conference instead of using outside parties.

According to tax filings released last week, the five power conferences generated $3.55 billion in the 2022-23 fiscal year, with the Big Ten reporting revenue of $879.9 million compared with $852.6 million for the SEC. The ACC saw the most significant increase, going from $617 million in 2021-22 to $707 million.

The Pac-12, which will see 10 of its 12 members disperse to other conferences in 2024-25, generated $603.9 million. The Big 12 was fifth at $510.7 million, which was before distributions when it was still only a 10-member league.

Like the other leagues, the Big 12 is preparing for big changes after news of a landmark $2.8 billion settlement that will transform how athletes are compensated. The power conferences last week agreed to settle a host of antitrust claims that could start steering millions of dollars directly to athletes as soon as the 2025 fall semester.

"I think we ended up in a fair and reasonable place," Yormark said. "Obviously, it's going to be a changing landscape. But I also do see opportunities in that changing landscape, and the work really starts now. A lot of work to be done. I look at this as a bit of a reset for our industry. And we're prepared for that. The ADs, myself, the board, we've been discussing that reset for quite some time. So it's not coming as a surprise."

When he became the Big 12 commissioner two summers ago, Yormark was an executive with Jay-Z's Roc Nation and a former CEO of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. He spent almost 15 years with the Nets, overseeing the club's move from New Jersey and construction of Barclays Center, and previously was with NASCAR, where he oversaw a $750 million agreement with Nextel Communications for naming rights to the circuit's top racing series.

"Since I took this job, you know, I said from day one, I was open for business. And I guess you could say we're open for business now more so than ever before," Yormark said. "When I think about my background, I certainly do believe that collegiate athletics is shifting, more closely to where I came from than where we are today."