May 15, 2012
Over the weekend, there was widespread speculation and confusion regarding ESPN’s recent rights agreement extension with the Atlantic Coast Conference. In response, we want to take the opportunity to explain a few key facts related to our ACC agreement.
First, a rights fee payment schedule that escalates in amount over the term is a commonplace provision in major college conference deals. This arrangement is not unique to the ACC. The pre-existing agreement between ESPN and the ACC (that carried through 2023) had an escalating rights fee schedule and the deal we announced last week contains a similar schedule. There is nothing unusual about how ESPN is paying the ACC over the life of this deal. It’s the industry standard.
This weekend’s schedule will showcase No. 9 LSU at defending national champion No. 2 South Carolina in an SEC showdown of top nine teams Saturday, at 1 p.m. on ESPNU. ESPN3 will also offer three games from the Virginia Tech at No. 6 North Carolina series Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.
Next weekend, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 will combine to offer eight conference championships, including the title games Sunday, May 27, from the ACC (noon, ESPN2), BIG EAST (noon, ESPNU) and SEC (3:30 p.m., ESPN2).
The NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car action continues with quarterfinal games Saturday and Sunday. Host Anish Shroff, along with analyst Mark Dixon, will handle the studio coverage from ESPNU’s Charlotte, N.C. studio both days. Joining the duo as a guest analyst will be Lehigh men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Cassese, whose team recently fell to Maryland in first-round action as the No. 7 seed in the tournament. Cassese was the 2001 ACC Player of the Year and a three-time All-American at Duke.
- Saturday’s games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md., will be on ESPN2 and ESPN3: No. 2 Johns Hopkins vs. Maryland – coming off an upset victory over No. 7 Lehigh – at noon and No. 1 Loyola against Denver, which upset No. 8 UNC, at 2:30 p.m.
- Sunday’s action from PPL Park in Chester, Pa., will be available on ESPNU and ESPN3, beginning at noon with the weekend’s top matchup: No. 4 Notre Dame against defending national champion and No. 5 seed Virginia. No. 3 Duke vs. Colgate, which upset No. 6 UMass in a first-round game, follows at 2:30 p.m.
- The ESPN commentator team of Eamon McAnaney, analyst Quint Kessenich and sideline analyst Paul Carcaterra will call all four quarterfinals
For the 31st year, ESPN networks will be the home of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship. The lineup will include telecasts of every Women’s College World Series (WCWS) contest for the 12th straight event and every game from all eight Super Regional sites for the fifth straight year. Championship action begins this Friday with games from three Regional sites.
- SEC teams earned the most bids this year by conference with nine, followed closely by the Pac-12 with eight
- The Pac-12 has won 23 of the past 29 NCAA Division I Softball Championships with Michigan being the last non-Pac-12 school to win a title in 2005
- California, this year’s No. 1 seed, has the most consecutive championship appearances with 26, behind only Fresno State with 30
- Super Regionals and WCWS games will include the expert opinion and experience from six U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists, one of which was a three-time NCAA Champion. All 11 ESPN analysts are former All-Americans and six played for teams that are seeded in this year’s Championship
ESPN Films’ Lolo debuts Monday, at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. The fourth in the SEC “Storied” documentary series focuses on the underdog story of U.S. Olympic athlete Lolo Jones and the hurdles she continues to jump over on and off the track. Full details
Follow on Twitter: #Lolo; @lolojones
ESPN’s daily, half-hour College Football Live program (3:30 p.m., ESPN) will continue with its roundtable-style review of its preseason Top 20 with the next five schools ranked Nos. 10-6: No. 10 Michigan, No. 9 Arkansas, No. 8 South Carolina, No. 7 Florida State and No. 6 Georgia. ESPN analysts Todd Blackledge, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack and Robert Smith, along with college football reporter Mark Schlabach, weigh in on each team’s strength of schedule, incoming freshman and returning players, as well as a hard look at conference play. Additional segments will appear on SportsCenter and ESPN.com.
This week’s College Football Live features analyst Brock Huard at the desk, while next week analysts Andre Ware and Ed Cunningham join the show.
ESPN’s College Football Live preseason Top 20 poll results:
- Florida State
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- Michigan State
- Kansas State
- Virginia Tech
- Ohio State
Follow on Twitter: @CFBLive