Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced a new digital network called “Big 12 Now” that will allow fans to have 24/7 coverage with a subscription through ESPN+ on Monday during day one of the 2019 Big 12 Football Media Day.
“Particularly in interest for us is the changing environment in how people are consuming their sports,” Bowlsby said at the Big 12 Media Day. “It isn’t just about television, It’s about live attendance as well. There are some troubling signs and the two are actually related. We are competing, in some measure, against the very high-quality television product that we have helped to develop and as all of us are finding out, mobile consumption is getting larger and larger with each passing year.”
Bowlsby worked with Nick Dawson from ESPN to create the digital network as it will be combined with the conference’s first-tier inventory, which is on FOX and ESPN, Bowlsby said at the press conference.
“Digital delivery and a wide variety of evolving platforms are right on top of us and anybody that tells you that they know what the future looks like three years from now, five years from now, I think is delusional because the technology is changing so rapidly,” Bowlsby said at the Big 12 Media Day. “What I can tell you is, we’re not going to see an environment where cable television is going to have more subscribers. It just doesn’t seem possible that that is likely. I don’t think it is ever going away. I think it continues to be the manner in which most Americans receive their sports viewing.”
Subscribers of Big 12 Now will be able to access the digital network 24 hours a day for all 365 days of the year, Bowlsby said at the press conference. Big 12 Now will also be available worldwide and it does not interfere with the Big 12’s tier-one partners.
“All of our sports will be available on ESPN+ on Big 12 Now at one time or another,” Bowlsby said at the Big 12 Media Day. “There’s a Big 12 landing page that is menu-driven, very easy to use. When it’s fully functional and operationally, ESPN+ and Big 12 Now on ESPN+ will be carrying over 800 Big 12 events. FOX will continue to have some selection opportunities on some of our Olympic sports and some of our women’s basketball sports, but as I say, 24/7, 365, worldwide.”
The ESPN+ and Big 12 Now digital network will be available to be streamed on Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Oculus Go and new Samsung TVs as well as through the Android and Apple app stores, Bowlsby said at the press conference.
“This technology is up and running, it’s easy to subscribe to and it’s cutting edge,” Bowlsby said at the Big 12 Media Day. “It is very much anticipatory of what tomorrow’s technology environment is going to look like, so we are very excited about it. We’re on the right side of technology.”
With the new digital network, Bowlsby said that cable coverage will not go away and it will still play a huge role in providing Big 12 sports to fans.
“The future on this is very exciting,” Bowlsby said at the press conference. “I couldn’t be more enthusiastic and, to tell you the truth, it’s one of the things that I spend a lot of time on and it’s one of the things that I enjoy most because it is so fascinating and it is changing so rapidly.”