Big 12 Media Days are open for business! – The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast
ARLINGTON, Texas — As it navigates a transformative period, the Big 12 Conference is “open for business,” according to its new leader.
Brett Yormark, the fifth commissioner of the Big 12, shared his vision for the future of the league during his introductory press conference Wednesday morning at Big 12 Football Media Days. That vision involves finding innovative ways to bolster the conference’s value as a covetable, national brand.
“We will leave no stone unturned to drive value for the conference,” Yormark said. “Just as I pledged to the board, we will be bold and humble, aggressive and thoughtful, and innovative and creative, all in an effort to position the conference in a way that not only grows the Big 12 brand and business but makes us a bit more contemporary.”
Yormark shared the mic with outgoing commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Baylor president Linda Livingstone as the league continues its multifaceted transition. The former president of business operation and strategy for Roc Nation will officially assume the Big 12’s top leadership role next month, and by the end of his first year in the position, the conference will expand to 14 teams by adding BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston.
Yormark noted that he’ll soon visit the campuses of all 10 current Big 12 members, as well as the campuses of its four future members, to conduct a “listening tour,” and better understand how to navigate a path to success as commissioner.
“What excites me most about joining the Big 12 is the transformative moment in front of all of us today,” Yormark said. “We have an opportunity grow and build the Big 12 brand and business, be aspirational…all while never losing our commitment to always compete and develop our student-athletes at the highest levels.”
Yormark assumes this post during a transitional time not just within the conference, but within college athletics as a whole. The transfer portal remains a point of contention throughout college football, schools and their athletes continue to navigate new terrain involving name, image and likeness deals, and just last month, another major realignment domino fell when the Big Ten voted to add USC and UCLA as new members in 2024.
When it comes to building a business in this new era of college athletics, nothing is more valuable to institutions than media rights agreements, which loom for the Big 12 in the coming years. Those impending negotiations will remain front of mind for Yormark — and they mean he’ll continue to answer the phone if other schools inquire about joining the conference.
“One thing is crystal clear: there is no higher priority than to best position the Big 12 for its upcoming multimedia rights negotiations,” Yormark said. “Everything we do must create momentum for these negotiations, as well as build the value for the Big 12 brand and business.”
The Big 12’s current media rights agreement expires in 2025.
On the subject of realignment, Yormark noted that the Big 12 is “exploring all options,” but that nothing is “imminent.”
The incoming leader also thanked Bowlsby, the league’s outgoing commissioner, for situating the league in position for more growth. Though Big 12 leadership was stunned last summer when Texas and Oklahoma announced a joint departure to the SEC, it quickly responded by securing four new members.
Livingstone also acknowledged that Yormark assumes his new role at a unique moment, but believes his background in pro sports and entertainment has readied him to tackle a new frontier.
“The challenges that we face in intercollegiate athletics are going to require hard work, innovative, creative thinking and strategic partnerships,” Livingstone said, “and all of those qualities really represent the career that Brett Yormark has had.”