The news that everyone had been speculating on for nearly a week became official this morning. Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12 and will most likely be joining the SEC. This leaves the rest of the Big 12 in a tough spot as while we don’t like Texas or Oklahoma, they did provide the conference two huge brands that helped bring in money for the other schools.
This departure will not only be felt by the schools themselves but the towns they reside in. Lubbock will feel this in some way. Going to a smaller conference will affect the city more than most think. Texas Tech received around 40 Million in revenues from the Big 12 in 2019. Most schools in Group of 5 Conferences, such as the AAC, received around 7 million in 2019.
This lack of revenue could devastate Texas Tech’s ability to promote and increase the brand of the athletics program. Without this revenue, the University might not be able to afford such a big athletics staff or social media staff that help promote athletes. Lubbock has been growing at a record pace. Texas Tech and its affiliation with the Big 12 is a big part of that.
According to Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope, the city makes over 10 Million Dollars per conference home game. That’s a large payday for the city that does not want to see this be less due to moving to a lesser conference. The closeness of a ton of these schools sees more visitors to Lubbock, who in turn eat and stay in Lubbock while their teams are in town.
There are two things the school can do to avoid a huge drop in revenue, in my opinion.
Join Another Power-5 Conference
This one has been a popular choice by Texas Tech fans. The PAC-12 is probably the choice of many fans, especially if another regional school or two joins. Some PAC-12 fans have made their disdain known about Big 12 schools potentially joining their conference, but I believe the conference itself would be open to bringing in some new schools and making a 16-team mega-conference!
Help Add Regional Rivals to the Big 12
The main concern from the City of Lubbock is that the lack of familiarity with new teams might drop visitors to the city. This could be avoided by adding Regional Rivals that would cause fans to come to Lubbock. Schools such as Houston and SMU could fill this void. While it would ultimately result in drops in Conference Revenue, the City of Lubbock would be happy to have visitors from in-state rivals visit.
Ultimately, the Big 12 will have to decide whether or not it folds. While we don’t know when that announcement gets made, it should be in the coming weeks. Texas Tech will look for another Power 5 Conference if and when the Big 12 dissolves. The PAC-12 is where I bet Texas Tech attempts to get in first.