ESPN and Conference USA Announce Multimedia Rights Deal

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ESPN and Conference USA Announce Multimedia Rights Deal

Conference USA today announces a new multimedia rights deal, emphasizing accessibility, opportune scheduling models, national linear and digital exposure, and increased revenue. This multi-year agreement between C-USA and its strong, longtime partners CBS Sports and ESPN gets underway during the 2023-24 season.

“This is a major step forward for Conference USA in terms of our multimedia rights as it relates to streamlined exposure, accessibility for our fans and greater financial resources for our members,” Commissioner Judy MacLeod said. “Building on our strong relationships with CBS and ESPN enabled us to provide increased exposure and consistent broadcast homes for our membership and fans as we continue to see the landscape of Conference USA and college athletics evolve.”

The multi-year agreement positions CBS Sports Network with tier one selection status for C-USA football (18 games annually) and men’s basketball (18 games annually) over the length of the partnership, while also televising the football championship, men’s basketball semifinal and championship games, the women’s basketball championship game, and baseball and softball championship games.

C-USA membership approved a linear television-friendly scheduling format for football that sees all October league matchups played on midweek evenings. The broadcast partners will share C-USA’s October weeknight football games on linear television across CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

“Conference USA has been a key partner for nearly two decades and we are pleased to extend our longstanding relationship,” said Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports. “As the primary television home of Conference USA, we are excited to showcase the conference’s best across sports throughout the year. This new deal adds even more live games and events to our CBS Sports Network lineup and we look forward to crowning champions in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball for years to come.”

ESPN linear networks will carry eight midweek football games per season via the October midweek scheduling. In addition, ESPN+ or ESPN3 will carry all additional regular season football games, while also serving as the exclusive digital home for all of Conference USA’s Olympic sports (soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, etc.), including all C-USA tournament games aside from the title games for baseball and softball, which will air on CBS Sports Network. Consolidating all digital inventory with ESPN provides a much more streamlined process for C-USA fans under one banner. Over 450 live sporting events will be available and streaming on ESPN+/ESPN3.

ESPN linear networks will also broadcast a minimum of five regular season men’s basketball games and one regular season women’s basketball game on its linear networks, while holding digital rights to all additional women’s regular season basketball games and all men’s basketball regular season games beyond CBS Sports Network’s selections.

“ESPN is thrilled to continue its association with Conference USA and improve its selections to offer better and more games than ever before,” said Nick Dawson, Vice President of Programming & Acquisitions, ESPN. “Our combination of industry leading linear networks and digital platforms will feature hundreds of events across multiple sports each year, providing C-USA, its member institutions, student-athletes and fans unmatched simplicity and access to their favorite C-USA teams and games.”

Conference USA retained Octagon to assist with negotiating its deals with CBS and ESPN. The full schedule of games and their corresponding distribution outlets will be announced at a later date.

ABOUT CBS SPORTS
CBS Sports, a year-round leader in cross-platform sports coverage, broadcasts a portfolio of events on the CBS Television Network, including THE NFL ON CBS; college football, including the SEC ON CBS; college basketball, including the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship; golf, including The Masters®, PGA Championship and PGA TOUR; soccer, including the UEFA Champions League and NWSL; and CBS SPORTS SPECTACULAR. In addition, the division includes CBS SPORTS NETWORK, the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports which televises live sports programming throughout the year, including college football and basketball games, UEFA Champions League and Europa League action, Italy’s Serie A matches, Concacaf national team competitions, as well as a full slate of original programming and studio coverage. CBS Sports also delivers an extensive lineup of global soccer coverage on Paramount+, including every UEFA club competition match, all Serie A matches as well as Concacaf national team competitions, and produces INSIDE THE NFL for Paramount+. CBS Sports Digital’s multi-platform offerings include CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports apps for mobile and connected TV devices; the 24/7 streaming sports news network CBS Sports HQ; 247Sports; MaxPreps; CBS Sports fantasy games; and SportsLine.

ABOUT ESPN AND ESPN+
ESPN, Inc. is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment brand featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia sports assets. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN launched on September 7, 1979, and is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Hearst holds a 20 percent interest.

ESPN+ is the industry-leading sports streaming service that offers fans in the U.S. thousands of live sports events, original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks and exclusive editorial content from dozens of ESPN writers and reporters. Launched in April 2018, ESPN+ has grown to more than 24.3 million subscribers. Fans sign up to ESPN+ for just $9.99 a month (or $99.99 per year) at ESPN.com, ESPNplus.com or on the ESPN App (mobile and connected devices).

ABOUT OCTAGON
Octagon is the preeminent integrated marketing, media and talent management agency in sports and entertainment. The agency creates distinctive marketing campaigns for some of the largest brands and Fortune 500 companies across the globe, advises sports properties around the world on their media rights negotiations, and represents more than 900 of the most prominent and influential athletes, talent, and properties globally. With more than 1,000 employees worldwide, based in 50 offices, in 20 countries, Octagon is positioned in virtually all areas of sports and entertainment.

ABOUT CONFERENCE USA
Conference USA is an NCAA Division I athletic conference based in Dallas, Texas. Now in its third decade, Conference USA has adapted to the ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics with an unwavering commitment to excellence, integrity and leadership in competition, academics and community.

Bill Hofheimer

I oversee ESPN’s College Sports PR, while also working on ESPN soccer, Around the Horn, PTI and more. Previously oversaw communications for ESPN's Monday Night Football and NFL studio shows.
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