Conference revenue comes mostly from television contracts, bowl games, the NCAA, merchandise, licensing and conference-hosted sporting events. The Conference distributes revenue annually to member institutions. From 1996 to 2011, 57 percent of revenue was allotted equally; while 43 percent was based upon the number of football and men's basketball television appearances and other factors. In 2011, the distribution was 76 percent equal and 24 percent based on television appearances. Changing the arrangement requires a unanimous vote; as a Big 12 member, Nebraska and Texas A&M had withheld support for more equitable revenue distribution.|
With this model, larger schools can receive more revenue because they appear more often on television. In 2006, for example, Texas received $10.2 million, 44% more than Baylor University's $7.1 million.
Big 12 revenue was generally less than other BCS conferences; this was due in part to television contracts signed with Fox Sports Net (four years for $48 million) and ABC/ESPN (eight years for $480 million).
In 2011, the Big 12 announced a new 13-year media rights deal with Fox that would ensure that every Big 12 home football game is televised, as well as greatly increasing coverage of women's basketball, conference championships and other sports. The deal, valued at an estimated $1.1 billion, runs until 2025. In 2012, the conference announced a new ESPN/FOX agreement, replacing the current ABC/ESPN deal, to immediately increase national media broadcasts of football and increase conference revenue; the new deal was estimated to be worth $2.6 billion through the 2025 expiration. The two deals pushed the conference per-school payout to approximately $20 million per year, while separating third-tier media rights into separate deals for each school; such contracts secured an additional $6 million to $20 million per school annually. The per-school payout under the deal is expected to reach $44 million, according to Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.