ESPN, Inc. and the Sun Belt Conference have reached a multiyear rights renewal for football, men's and women's basketball and Olympics sports across myriad platforms.
Beginning with the 2009-10 school year, the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, will result in a 60% increase in the number of Sun Belt telecasts, including presentations on college service ESPNU.
As a result of the comprehensive deal, which extends through the 2011-12 academic year, ESPN secures national exclusive rights to distribute Sun Belt Conference games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Classic.
Among the particulars: a minimum of two national football telecasts annually either on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, with the rights to add contests as the season progresses; ESPN Regional Television can syndicate up to five games; a minimum of four men's regular-season basketball appearances a year on ESPN or ESPN2, highlighted by the men's conference championship game; ESPN Regional Television can syndicate up to eight hoops games; initial national coverage for the women's conference basketball, via either two regular season games on ESPNU or the conference title tilt; and select Olympic sports on the various ESPN platforms.
"We are thrilled to remain the exclusive national television home for the Sun Belt Conference," said ESPN senior vice president, college sports programming Burke Magnus in a statement. "Through this extensive agreement, ESPN's long relationship with the conference will continue to grow with additional coverage across our multiple platforms, including ESPNU."
Noted Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters: "The Sun Belt Conference's negotiation with ESPN, Inc. is one of the most significant events in the conference's 33-year history. There have been many great steps taken in the history of this league including the Sun Belt becoming a member of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and the Bowl Championship Series. I firmly believe that this new deal and our partnership with ESPN, Inc. is another important step for the success of the Sun Belt Conference."
The Sun Belt Conference comprises teams from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas State University, University of Denver, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, University of Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State University, University of New Orleans, University of North Texas, University of South Alabama, Troy University, and Western Kentucky University.
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