ESPN and MAC Reach Agreement on Extension for Multiplatform Rights Through 2016-17
ESPN, Inc. and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) have reached an eight-year agreement to extend their current contract for rights across multiple platforms for football, and men’s and women’s basketball through the 2016-17 academic year.
As a result of the comprehensive deal, ESPN will receive national exclusive rights to distribute MAC football, and men’s and women’s basketball, including conference Championships for all three across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Classic.
“Through demonstrated audience growth and success, both on the field and on the court, the MAC has proven to be a very popular and competitive conference,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, college sports programming. “The MAC and its member institutions have always had a shared vision of the benefits of creative scheduling. We are excited to continue to provide national exposure of their football and men’s and women’s basketball action across our multiple platforms including significant coverage on ESPNU.”
The pact, coming off the second highest rating for the conference football championship in ESPN’s last 12 years televising the event (a 1.7 rating), is the most extensive in the 63-year history of the conference.
“The breadth of this agreement, both in terms of the overall number of MAC events televised as well as the scope of the ESPN networks involved, truly solidifies the conference’s long-term television future,” said MAC Commissioner Rick Chryst. “It brings further structure and consistency to our regional and national football television package, while offering important growth for both our men’s and women’s basketball programs.”
As part of the agreement, the MAC will receive:
· A minimum of 11 nationally televised football games a year, with six on ESPN or ESPN2 — including the popular MAC Football Championship — and five on ESPNU.
· A minimum of six men’s or women’s regular-season basketball conference games a year on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, plus full participation in the ESPNU BracketBusters event, which the conference joined as a founding member in 2003.
· The men’s basketball tournament title game on ESPN or ESPN2, where it has been televised since 1987, and the potential for the women’s championship game on ESPNU based on the tournament format, which would mark the first-ever national telecast of the matchup.
· A multi-year commitment to a six-week ESPN Regional Television syndicated football package on broadcast stations across the MAC geography, continuing the success of this effort from the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
ESPN, Inc. is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPNU HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (45 networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN PPV, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360.com (Broadband), ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN on Demand and ESPN Interactive. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
Founded in 1946, the Mid-American Conference is an NCAA Division I, 12-member conference that sponsors 23 championships and is one of 11 members of the Football Bowl Subdivison (FBS). With total enrollment of nearly 300,000 students, the league represents institutions of higher learning in six (6) states – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Ohio. In addition a 13th school – Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. — is an affiliate member for football only.
Current MAC schools that hold full membership and the year they joined are — East Division: the University of Akron (1992), Bowling Green State University (1952), University at Buffalo (1998), Kent State University (1951), Miami University (1947), Ohio University (1946). West Division: Ball State University (1973), Central Michigan University (1971), Eastern Michigan University (1971), Northern Illinois University (1975-86, rejoined in 1997), University of Toledo (1950), Western Michigan University (1947). Temple University (2007) competes in the East Division in football only.
The league office is based in Cleveland, Ohio.