ESPN and the current Big East Conference, soon to be renamed, will continue their relationship of more than three decades with a multiyear, multimedia rights agreement. The agreement grants ESPN exclusive worldwide distribution rights across all media and will continue ESPN’s coverage of the conference’s football, basketball and more through 2019-20. In addition, video subscribers of ESPN will have access to the games via digital and mobile devices.
ESPN’s existing football agreement with the conference runs through 2013 while the 2013-14 season will act as a bridge year for the conference’s basketball rights. Commencing in 2014-15, football, basketball and other sports will be under one agreement through 2019-20 granting ESPN rights to all conference contests (not included in CBS’s basketball rights package) including at least 66 football games and 170 men’s basketball games which will be made available annually across ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN3, and via limited regional and national sublicense. In addition, select women’s basketball regular-season and postseason contests as well as other conference-sponsored sports will be presented throughout the year.
“This agreement signifies our commitment to ensuring superior content across any device for many more years,” said John Skipper, ESPN President. “Sports fans everywhere, including the schools’ most passionate followers, will enjoy our extensive multi-sport offerings.”
Commissioner Mike Aresco said, “I am delighted that the current Big East Conference, which will be renamed and rebranded, will be partnering with ESPN well into the future,” said Aresco. “The extraordinary exposure provided by the ESPN networks will give viewers the opportunity to see the exciting competition and intense rivalries that will characterize our Conference.”
Included in the new agreement:
Complete coverage: Every conference-controlled football game will be available via a television or digital platform.
Complete Coverage: Every conference-controlled men’s basketball game will be available via a television or digital platform.
Conference Championship: The conference championship will be televised on ABC or ESPN.
Women’s Basketball: Conference-controlled women’s basketball regular-season games will appear on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and/or ESPN3. The championship of the conference tournament will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, with the semifinals on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
ESPN will have the rights to action from other conference-sponsored men’s and women’s sports such as baseball and softball.
ESPN OUTLETS: Rights include conference content featured across ESPN entities including exclusive live games on ESPN3. In addition, fans will be able to find select action on ESPN Deportes, ESPN International and more. All conference programming on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater will be available online via WatchESPN.com and on mobile devices via the Watch ESPN app to fans who receive their video subscription through an affiliated provider.
ESPN can sublicense conference games across all sports for regional and national distribution.
ESPN, Inc., is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of eight U.S. 24-hour television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN 3D and Longhorn Network) and five HD simulcast services (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes). Other businesses include ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (35 networks, syndication, radio, digital), ESPN Radio (broadcast, satellite, digital, a growing category led by ScoreCenter), ESPN.com (plus a variety of sport-, college-, and market-specific sites), ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises and espnW. Multi-screen offerings include WatchESPN (access to several ESPN networks online and via an app), ESPN3 (live multi-screen network available online, on the go and via Xbox LIVE) and ESPN Mobile (mobile Web, mobile TV and video, apps, alerts and messaging). Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.