This coming in today from ESPN, a new eight year agreement with the West Coast Conference for mostly men’s basketball. Women’s basketball, baseball as well as various Olympic sports are also included in this new deal. The contract calls for at least 48 appearances of WCC teams across ESPN platforms (mostly on ESPN2 and ESPNU). In addition, the WCC Tournament will be aired which will include two quarterfinal games on ESPNU, the semifinals on ESPN2 and the final on either ESPN or ESPN2. Let’s look at the press release.
ESPN and the West Coast Conference (WCC) have announced an eight-year rights agreement extension for enhanced coverage of men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports content across multiple platforms.
As a result of the new deal that runs through the 2018-19 academic year, ESPN will receive rights to distribute West Coast Conference men’s and women’s basketball, including action from the conference Championships, and Olympic sports on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV.
Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, college sports programming, said, “We are thrilled to continue our exclusive long-term relationship with the West Coast Conference and its member institutions. The WCC is a premier conference, recently made even better by the addition of Brigham Young University. This agreement allows us to showcase more WCC content than ever before to fans through all our networks and platforms, and via any available technology or device.”
As part of the deal, the West Coast Conference will receive a minimum of 48 men’s basketball appearances, including conference games and home non-conference games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. ESPN has televised an average of 38 West Coast Conference men’s basketball appearances over the past three seasons (note: a conference game counts as two appearances and non-conference games count as one). Details include:
- A minimum of 14 conference men’s basketball games with seven on ESPN or ESPN2 and seven on ESPNU.
- More coverage of the West Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Championship than ever with telecasts of the championship on ESPN or ESPN2, semifinals on ESPN2 and two quarterfinal games on ESPNU.
- At least five events annually across women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball and baseball on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
West Coast Conference Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich added, “We are elated to reaffirm our long term partnership with ESPN for another eight years. ESPN has played a critical role in helping build and extend our brand as a premier national basketball conference, and this agreement will ensure that more West Coast Conference events will be telecast across more national television platforms than ever before.”
The West Coast Conference has enjoyed unprecedented men’s basketball success on the national scene in recent years. Over the last three seasons, WCC teams have combined for 15 postseason victories while at least half of the WCC teams have earned postseason berths in each of the past two years. Only eight Division I programs have won at least 25 games in each of the last four seasons. Three of those programs (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s) reside in the West Coast Conference.