ESPN Extends Agreement with Big South Conference, Will Become Exclusive Media Holder through Comprehensive Rights Deal

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ESPN Extends Agreement with Big South Conference, Will Become Exclusive Media Holder through Comprehensive Rights Deal

  • ESPN’s Commitment to Big South Greatly Increases; ESPN+ Direct-to Consumer Streaming Platform will Feature More than 900 Events Annually
  • Every Football and Basketball Game on an ESPN Network; Majority on ESPN+
  • More than 400 Games from Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball, Baseball, Softball, Women’s Lacrosse Regular Season and Championship Games on ESPN+

ESPN and the Big South Conference have reached a comprehensive extension to its existing media rights deal, resulting in ESPN becoming the exclusive rights holder of the conference and greatly increasing the conference’s presence on its platforms. Starting in 2018-19, the Big South, its 11 member institutions and fans will enjoy more than 900 conference events on ESPN+, the first multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company Direct-to-Consumer & International segment and ESPN. Select conference events will also continue to be televised on ESPN’s linear networks, including the men’s basketball conference championship game, and streamed ESPN3. The extension expands on the original agreement, which was set to expire after the 2018-19 season.

“Through this innovative multi-platform extension, we have simultaneously bolstered our ESPN+ lineup and continued a long-standing relationship with the Big South Conference,” said ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus. “We are thrilled to become the exclusive rights holder for the conference, carrying nearly 1,000 games each year on our platforms, including numerous conference championship games. The Big South also adds to the exclusive content fans can find on ESPN+, which now includes more than 15 college conferences, to go along with professional leagues such as MLB, NHL, MLS and premier events from Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, UFC and the PGA Tour.”

Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander Said: “This is a great day for the Big South! For 27 years ESPN has carried compelling Big South content, and for 27 years the Big South has been a willing partner for the company’s latest innovation — whether it was ESPNU, ESPN3, or now ESPN+.  We have benefited tremendously from ESPN’s leadership in the media landscape, and are thrilled to provide seven more years of comprehensive exposure for Big South student-athletes and member institutions.”

Every Football, Men’s and Women’s Basketball Game Available on ESPN’s Platforms; Increased Exposure for Numerous Additional Conference Sports; Majority of Big South Games on ESPN+
Beginning this fall and continuing through the length of the deal, every conference-controlled football and men’s and women’s basketball game will be available on an ESPN platform, with the significant majority of those being carried on ESPN+.

Numerous Big South sports will see increased exposure on ESPN+, including men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and lacrosse, baseball, softball and more, with a variety of these sport’s conference championship games streaming on ESPN+. The men’s basketball championship will continue to be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.

In addition to the men’s basketball championship, at least four regular season men’s basketball games will air on ESPN’s linear television networks. Additional conference games will air on ESPN’s linear networks and be streamed on ESPN3.

ESPN and Big South Continue Deep History Together
As a result of this new extension, ESPN and Big South will continue a relationship which began in 1991. When this latest agreement expires, ESPN will have carry Big South games for more than 30 years.

ESPN+ Continues to Add Exclusive Live Events, Dynamic Programming
The Big South Conference is the latest addition to the comprehensive live programming lineup on ESPN+, which also includes hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, UFC (beginning in 2019), PGA Tour golf, rugby, cricket, original shows and series, the full library of 30 for 30 documentary films and more. ESPN has previously announced deals with Conference USA, Atlantic 10, The Ivy League and Sun Belt, with hundreds of games from each conference available on the platform each year, as well as live sports events from nearly a dozen other conferences.

ESPN+ is the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International division in conjunction with ESPN. It offers fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year).

ESPN+ is an integrated part of the completely redesigned ESPN App. Already the leading sports app, the new ESPN App is the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans and is a showcase of the company’s culture of innovation. With a richer, increasingly more personalized experience, the new ESPN App curates all of ESPN’s incredible content into an experience unique to each fan’s individual tastes. ESPN+ is also available through


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner

Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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