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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Commissioner Michael Aresco has announced that the current Big East Conference, soon to be renamed and rebranded, has entered into a multiyear, wide-ranging television contract with ESPN to telecast its football, basketball and Olympic sports. Financial terms of the agreement were not announced. The contract will run through 2019-20.
The contract includes comprehensive national exposure via the acknowledged leader in college sports television, the ESPN networks.
"I am delighted that the current Big East Conference, which will be renamed and rebranded, will be partnering with ESPN well into the future," said Aresco. "The extraordinary exposure provided by the ESPN networks will give viewers the opportunity to see the exciting competition and intense rivalries that will characterize our Conference."
"This agreement with ESPN will offer outstanding exposure for all of our institutions and is evidence of the great future for our conference," Judy Genshaft, President of the University of South Florida and Chair of the Big East Executive Committee.
"This agreement signifies our commitment to ensuring superior content across any device for many more years," said John Skipper, ESPN President. "Sports fans everywhere, including the schools' most passionate followers, will enjoy our extensive multi-sport offerings."The current football contract with ESPN runs through the 2013 season. By 2014-15, football, basketball and Olympic sports will be under one agreement. The conference will retain marketing rights which will provide lucrative sponsorship opportunities.
In football, the new contract will provide unprecedented national coverage for the league. In essence, the extensive national television coverage replaces previous syndication and local telecasts. All conference controlled games, which are conference games and non-conference home games, will be televised.
- Nearly 90 percent of the games will be carried on national broadcast or national cable.
- The minimum number of telecasts collectively on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU will be higher than the number of telecasts in the current contract, which expires at the end of the 2013 season.
- The conference championship game, which is expected to begin in 2015, will be carried by ABC or ESPN on Championship Saturday.
In men's basketball, all conference controlled games will be televised.
- More than 63 percent of the games will be carried on national broadcast or national cable, which will be a minimum of 107 games.
- The entire conference postseason basketball tournament will be on national television. The championship game will be televised on ABC or ESPN.
In women's basketball, there is tremendous national and regional coverage.
- Nearly 60 games will be televised on national cable, regional sports networks and ESPN3, including the entire women's basketball postseason tournament. Eighteen regular-season games will be televised nationally.
- The women's basketball tournament championship game will be on ESPN or ESPN2. The semifinals also will be on national cable.
In Olympic sports, numerous championship contests will be televised nationally.
The next steps for the conference include naming and branding.
"We are working expeditiously to rename and rebrand the Conference," Aresco added. "We have an outstanding group of institutions that are excited to work together to establish a dynamic new identity."
Beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the Conference will consist of the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Connecticut, the University of Houston, the University of Memphis, Southern Methodist University, the University of South Florida, Temple University and Tulane University. East Carolina University will be a football-only member. The U.S. Naval Academy will be a football-only member in 2015.