Big 12 Mexico extends league's reach with basketball games, possible bowl game
IRVING, Texas (AP) The Big 12 Conference is extending its reach into Mexico, announcing plans Thursday for men's and women's basketball games to be played in Mexico City late next year while also exploring a possible football bowl game in Monterrey.
Big 12 Mexico is the league's first international extension, and comes less than a year after Brett Yormark became commissioner of the evolving conference.
“Mexico is a natural extension to the Big 12 footprint," Yormark said. “Through Big 12 Mexico, our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete in an international setting, and our conference will have the chance to showcase our brand across Mexico.”
Kansas and Houston will play each other in men's and women's basketball at Mexico City's Arena CDMX in December 2024. After that, women's soccer teams and baseball teams from the Big 12 will participate in exhibitions against clubs from the region.
The conference said it would also explore adding a football bowl game in Monterrey starting in 2026, but didn't elaborate on the potential plans for what would be the first bowl game in Mexico.
The Big 12 will expand from 10 to 14 schools on July 1 when BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston officially join the league. Those additions come a year before the departures of Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference.
Yormark said at the end of the the league's spring meetings last week that expansion remains a focus for the conference that is distributing a record $440 million of revenue among its 10 current schools for the 2022-23 academic year.
Five current or future Big 12 campuses - Baylor, Houston, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech - are located within 400 miles of Mexico. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have campus extensions in Mexico.
Along with hosting conference games across multiple sports, Big 12 Mexico will see the league execute a variety of community outreach programming, commercial partnerships, merchandise and activations. The league said that will include partnering with notable musicians and artists and launching an influencer marketing campaign in the region.
Updated June 8, 2023