ESPN and BYU Reach New Media Rights Agreement for Cougars’ Home Football Games

College Football

ESPN and BYU Reach New Media Rights Agreement for Cougars’ Home Football Games


  • Includes Additional Bowl Arrangement with ESPN Events for Multiple Seasons
  • Several Marquee Games Now Set to Air on ESPN’s Networks

ESPN and Brigham Young University reached a new rights agreement, securing the media rights to all Cougars home football games on ESPN’s networks through the 2026 college football season. The seven-year agreement, which begins with the 2020 season, includes an additional arrangement between BYU and ESPN Events, positioning the Cougars to appear in an ESPN owned and operated bowl game following the 2020, 2022, and 2024 regular seasons.

Since 2011, ESPN and BYU have held a similar agreement, giving ESPN exclusive first rights to all BYU home football games. Overall, ESPN and BYU’s football relationship dates back to 1984.

“BYU is a key component of our extensive college football media rights portfolio and we are pleased to continue the relationship well into the future,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of programming and events.  “The new agreement will build upon our last nine seasons, as we collectively work together showcasing the Cougars to a national audience and their extensive fan base.”

“We have been fortunate to have an amazing relationship with ESPN for decades,” said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. “There is great collaboration because the relationship is truly a partnership and continues to get stronger every year. We are very grateful for all that ESPN does to support and promote BYU Athletics.”

New ESPN-BYU Rights Agreement Highlights:  

  • ESPN will continue to possess primary rights to all BYU home football games and neutral site matchups where the Cougars are designated the home team.
  • A minimum of four games will air on ESPN’s networks each season; Of those four, a minimum of three games will air on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
    • Additional game(s) will air on one of the three same networks or ESPNU
  • BYUtv will continue to air one home game each year
  • All games, including any game on BYUtv, will be available to stream on the ESPN App

Several High-Profile Games Now Set for ESPN’s Networks
BYU has already scheduled numerous high-profile home games that are now set to air on an ESPN network with the new arrangement. Among the opponents locked in:

Season Home Opponents
2020 ·         Michigan State

·         Missouri

2021 ·         Utah

·         Arizona State

·         Boise State

·         Virginia

2022 ·         Baylor

·         Arkansas

2023 ·         Tennessee

·         Boise State

2024 ·         UCF
2025 ·         Stanford

·         Minnesota

·         Virginia

2026 ·         Boise State

Schedule subject to change

BYU to Participate in ESPN Events Owned and Operated Bowl Games
If BYU is bowl eligible in the 2020, 2022, and/or 2024 seasons and are not selected for a New Year’s Six bowl game, the Cougars will play in one of ESPN Events’ 16 owned and operated bowl games. The arrangement allows the Cougars to exercise an option in one of these three seasons to potentially participate in the Cheez-It Bowl, in lieu of an ESPN Events Bowl game. The Cheez-It Bowl airs on an ESPN network.

Since 2011, the Cougars have played in four ESPN Events bowl games:

  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 21, 2018)
  • Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 19, 2015)
  • Miami Beach Bowl (Dec. 22, 2014) – now Frisco Bowl
  • Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 30, 2011)

In the 2021, 2023 and 2025 seasons, the Cougars have a separate agreement with the Independence Bowl, which airs on an ESPN network.

ESPN and BYU Continue Their Football History
ESPN and BYU have an extensive history together, including BYU appearing on ESPN’s first live regular season college football game when the Cougars defeated No. 3 Pittsburgh (Sept. 1, 1984). Since reaching a media rights agreement in 2011, ESPN has aired 50 BYU home games and total of 86 Cougar football games.



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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