COLLEGE SPORTS

Big 12 Reportedly Considering Up To $1 Billion Private Equity Investment

Jun 13, 2024, 10:27 AM

Big 12, Brett Yormark, Conference Expansion...

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark continues to live by an "Open for business" mantra, it's just not in reference to expansion. (Courtesy of Liz Parke and the Big 12 Conference)

(Courtesy of Liz Parke and the Big 12 Conference)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Big 12 Conference could be ushering in a new era of college athletics.

On Thursday, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported that the Big 12 Conference is considering a private equity investment of up to $1 billion.

Dodd reports that Luxemborg-based CVC Capital Partners could inject $800 million to $1 billion into the league.

According to Dodd, as part of the investment, CVC Capital Partners would receive a 15% to 20% stake in the conference.

The deal has yet to be finalized.

This would be a first-of-its-kind move in college athletics. However, private equity has been circulating as a possibility for months now.

That’s due to the House v. NCAA settlement, which allows power conferences to begin revenue sharing with athletes.

When the settlement details are ironed out, conferences like the Big 12 could pay their athletes up to $22 million annually.

It’s a significant price tag for a league that will continue to make far fewer media rights dollars than the SEC and Big Ten.

The Big 12’s new media rights package begins in 2025, reportedly worth $31.5 million per team.

By comparison, the Big Ten will make $1.1 billion as a conference per year.

Last month, the Big 12 Conference held its annual spring business meetings. Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark was asked his thoughts on the idea of private equity entering college athletics.

“I think, in some respects, private equity is a validation of where the industry is going in the growth trajectory that we’re all on. So I don’t look at it as a bad thing,” said Yormark at Big 12 Spring Business Meetings in May.

Before becoming the Big 12 Commissioner in 2022, Yormark had previous stints with NASCAR and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

He points out that he’s familiar with private equity.

“I was in the NBA when private equity started coming in. You’re seeing that the NFL is about to open their doors for private equity. So it’s not foreign, and it certainly is not foreign to me.

“But I think, in some respects, it’s a validation because private equity likes to go to places where industries are in the growth mode. We certainly are in the growth mode.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Big 12 Reportedly Considering Up To $1 Billion Private Equity Investment