NCAA and ESPN extend broadcast agreement for 8 more years

The NCAA and ESPN announced Thursday that 40 NCAA championships, including women’s basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball, will be on ESPN networks over the next eight years.

The agreement includes rights to 21 women’s and 19 men’s championships. Division I women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, women’s gymnastics and the Football Championship Subdivision title game will be broadcast on the television network (ABC). More than 800 hours of NCAA championships will appear on ESPN’s linear networks throughout the year, with more than 2,300 combined across linear and digital platforms.

It expands a relationship between the NCAA and ESPN that, like ESPN, began in 1979. ESPN began televising all games of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament in 2003 and has broadcast events such as the men’s College World Series since 1980.

“ESPN and the NCAA have enjoyed a strong, collaborative relationship for more than four decades, and we are delighted that it will continue as part of this new long-term agreement,” said ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro.

The deal includes all 24 sports covered in the previous ESPN deal and adds coverage of the NCAA Division I tennis championships (men’s and women’s) and men’s gymnastics, among others. It also expands international rights to the Division I men’s basketball championship.

The NCAA hired Endeavor’s IMG and WME Sports as media advisors for the negotiations, which were the first since ESPN and the NCAA agreed to a 12-year, $500 million deal in 2011. NCAA President Charlie Baker , told Sports Business Journal that the new deal is worth $115 million a year; An NCAA spokesperson told SBJ that 25% of that cost includes production and marketing.

“Over the past several years, ESPN has demonstrated increased investment in its coverage of the NCAA Championships, and the Association is pleased to continue providing a platform for student-athletes to shine,” Baker said. “Having a multi-platform home to showcase our championships provides additional growth potential along with a greater experience for the spectator and our student-athletes.”

Men’s championships included in the agreement include football (outside the Football Bowl Subdivision), cross country, water polo, indoor and outdoor track and field, swimming and diving, wrestling, ice hockey, gymnastics, fencing, volleyball , lacrosse, tennis, baseball and Division II and III basketball (aside from the Division II title game).

Women’s championships included are soccer, field hockey, all divisions of volleyball, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, swimming and diving, all divisions of basketball, ice hockey, bowling, gymnastics, fencing , beach volleyball, lacrosse, tennis, softball. and water polo.

Also included is the Men’s Basketball National Invitation Tournament and the new Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament.

The agreement begins in September.

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