With the conclusion of Friday’s Big 12 semifinals, a chapter in conference history, one that dates to the Big Eight era, will close.
The syndicated broadcast entity known as the Big 12 Network will end.
Starting next year, all Big 12 basketball games will be broadcast on an ESPN platform. Essentially, that means the 32 games that weren’t shown on an ESPN network or any other network this season, will move to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPNews.
The last Big 12 game to be shown exclusively on the Big 12 Network, with its announcers, is Thursday night’s Texas-West Virginia game. Friday’s semifinals will air on the Big 12 Network in the Big 12 footprint but on ESPNU everywhere else, with ESPNU talent and production.
The Big 12 Network has operated under the ESPN flag but can be picked up by any over-the-air station in a designated market. In Kansas City, the games are shown on KCMI (Ch. 38).
In its media guide, the Big 12 lists over-the-air stations in 55 markets, mostly in the Big 12 footprint, but also in places such as Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Phoenix. But the games on those channels weren’t guaranteed to be broadcast.
Being on the ESPN platform means all televised Big 12 games will be seen on ESPN’s expansive cable network.
Big 12 senior associate commissioner Tim Allen said decisions on some of the familiar faces and voices who have called Big 12 games for years, such as Dave Armstrong, Mitch Holtus and Reid Gettys, haven’t been made, but the league will be an advocate “for people who live in the (Big 12 area) and know the product.”
Big Eight games have been on a syndicated network since the early 1980s, with ownership by such companies as TVS, Katz Network, Raycom and Creative Sports.