Is ESPN Pushing Florida State To The Big 12 Conference?

Florida State, Jenn Sterger

Photo: ABC Sports

Former NFL linebacker Derrick Brooks (and former FSU board of trustees member) appeared to confirm rumours that Florida State is at least mulling a move from the ACC to the Big 12 (via Orlando Sentinel).But why would Florida State make the jump to the Big 12?

In a memo obtained by ESPN, FSU president Eric Barron outlined the pros and cons of making the move, highlighting the larger, but unequal television revenue in the Big 12 (Texas takes home home more revenue thanks to their own Longhorn Network).

But the real reason might be a lesson in how geography is viewed from the ESPN offices in Bristol, Connecticut. And how to best maximise the ratings in Florida, which is home to three of the 20 largest television markets (Miami, Orlando, Tampa).

ESPN just inked a new 15-year, $3.6 billion television contract with the ACC, which currently has two schools in Florida (FSU, Miami). ESPN is also currently negotiating a new deal with the Big 12, which has no schools in Florida.

So if FSU were to move to the Big 12, it would give both conferences a foothold in the key state, and the Big 12 would likely gain more of a ratings boost than the ACC would lose.

Would Florida State be better off in the Big 12? Maybe. Would the Big 12 be better off with Florida State? Probably.

But in the end, the biggest winner would be ESPN.

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