Let’s say that the next Big East media deal it’s worth $8 million per school per year. Let’s further assume that the added travel costs of being in the big 12 are $2 million per school per year. Under those assumptions and offer of $10 million per year per school to join the big 12 would effectively be breakeven. So, one would think that the number needs to be materially more than that to induce a big east conference school to join. What’s the right number, then? Probably $13M - 15M.
The problem is that basketball rights have been valued at about 20% of the rights for all sports in a conference (using the Notre Dame/ACC deal as a benchmark.). So, for the basketball only schools to get $13-$15 million, the rest of the big 12 deal should be worth say $65-$75 million. They aren’t going to get that. So, either the big 12 gives the Big East conference schools greater than “fair market value“ for joining the conference, or ESPN decides that it’s worthwhile to pay a premium for select basketball schools, so that the amount needed to be paid for the schools that remain in the big east conference is reduced.
I’m having a little difficulty seeing the numbers working out, but it is possible. Again, though, the only way I would be interested in this is if Connecticut was either brought on in all sports, or there was a defined path to joining for all sports with a narrow and specific timeline.