BYU and Baylor gave the Big 12 Conference and these future conference rivals something to shout about — TV numbers.
On Tuesday, ESPN announced that 2.4 million viewers watched their game last Saturday, a double-overtime thriller that the Cougars won 26-20.
It’s the best viewership numbers for a late-night ESPN college football broadcast since 2016, when Cal hosted Texas that year.
It’s good timing for the Big 12, as these two future league rivals — BYU is joining the conference in 2023 — put on a late-night show.
Recently, the Big 12 announced it would be opening media rights negotiations with its partners earlier than expected.
Last week, new conference Commissioner Brett Yormark gave an update on the situation.
“The process has started. I met with ESPN last week, had great meetings with them,” Yormark said, per The Athletic’s Justin Williams. “I think we’re very aligned and like-minded in where we want to go in the future. I’ll be meeting with Fox in the next week to gauge their interest.
“Obviously these are conversations to explore if it’s in everyone’s best interest to go early, to gain clarity. My gut tells me that both Fox and ESPN would like to do that, but I’ll know for sure once I meet with Fox in the next week.”
The Big 12’s current media rights deal expires in 2025.