The America East Conference and ESPN announced today an 11-year extension to their current media rights agreement that will result in an unprecedented number of events being carried on ESPN platforms. The agreement commences with the 2016-17 academic year and will run through 2026-27.
“This extension and creation of a co-branded network, “The AE on ESPN3”, signifies a historic moment for our conference,” said America East Commissioner, Amy Huchthausen. “This initiative represents a significant commitment on behalf of our member institutions and I’m enormously grateful to our Board of Presidents and Athletics Directors Council for their vision and collaborative leadership to build an infrastructure that will showcase and promote their athletics programs and overall institutions to a wide audience.”
America East’s nine member institutions will work collaboratively with ESPN and the conference office to develop their own in-house production operations on their campuses. This will result in a significant increase in national coverage for multiple sports on ESPN3 branded “The AE on ESPN3” showcasing more than 3,000 America East events over the term of the agreement, starting with all men’s and women’s basketball games and adding other sports in future years.
“This endeavor is yet another example of our institutions’ commitment to ensure their programs and this conference are well-positioned for the future,” explained Huchthausen. “Knowing that starting this season, we’ll see all of our home men’s and women’s basketball games on The AE on ESPN3, rather than just a select few as we’ve had in prior years, will be an enormous advantage to reach recruits, parents, alums and fans. I can’t wait to see how our institutions tell their story to a national audience every single night.”
The campus-based production model will also provide hands-on educational opportunities for students and provide valuable experience for those interested in careers in broadcast journalism and television.
“This new initiative with ESPN is going to elevate each institution, but more importantly the conference, ahead of many of our peers,” said University of New Hampshire Director of Athletics and Chair of America East’s Athletic Directors’ Council, Marty Scarano. “This, on many of our campuses, is a cutting-edge advantage and puts us in a completely different place altogether institutionally. The benefits will be reaped not only by athletic departments, but across campus as well.”
As part of the agreement, ESPN also retains the rights to the conference’s men’s basketball championship game, which has aired on either ESPN or ESPN2 each of the last 29 years. Additionally, select regular-season men’s basketball games and other conference championship games, including women’s basketball and men’s lacrosse, will continue to be televised on ESPN linear channels.
“America East’s three-decade relationship with ESPN has been an invaluable asset in telling our story to a national audience and we are thrilled to be able to continue that relationship while taking it to new heights,” said Huchthausen. “ESPN continues to be the premier leader and home for sports and its multi-platform content distribution approach continues to expand as they reach consumers everywhere through web, mobile and OTT platforms. It’s incredibly exciting to know that the America East Conference will grow alongside ESPN with The AE on ESPN3 content which ensures our institutions will reap maximum exposure opportunities for years to come for both live and featured content.”
ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of exclusive sports events annually. It is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and streaming devices through WatchESPN. The network is available nationwide at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.
The network is also available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.
About America East
Founded in 1979, the America East Conference consists of nine member institutions: University at Albany, Binghamton University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, UMBC, UMass Lowell, University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont. The conference sponsors championships in 17 sports and provides its member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field.