Wednesday, September 03, 2008
ESPN and the Western Athletic Conference came to terms on a multi-platform deal today that extends through the end of the 2016-2017 College Sports season. The agreement includes Football, Men's and Women's Basketball, as well as whatever Olympic events that ESPN would consider airing (i.e.- Softball and Volleyball). Here's more via ESPN PR....
As part of the agreement, ESPNU will obtain rights to televise conference controlled games for the first time beginning with the 2008-09 season. Some content elements under the new agreement will be incorporated into the remaining years of the current contract (this season and next).The conference will have a minimum of ten Football games, as well as a minimum of twelve (six men's, six women's) Basketball games, televised each season on the network. If you add to that the Women's Volleyball Championship, the WAC is going to be getting a lot of press from the "Leader" over the next ten years.
“The WAC is a significant player on the college landscape and we are thrilled they will call ESPN home through 2016-17,” said Burke Magnus (ESPN senior vice president). “You can not talk championship level teams without including WAC members in that conversation. With this agreement, college sports fans will continue to see – in a bigger and better way -- the quality and depth of the conference as well as the passion and enthusiasm of their supporters.”
Karl Benson (WAC commissioner) added, “For the past five years, WAC football has benefited greatly from the exposure it has received from ESPN. The WAC values its relationship with the ‘leader in college sports’ and is confident that this extension will allow WAC football to continue to be a prominent player in the BCS. But just as important, this deal will finally get the WAC’s men’s basketball teams the type of national exposure it deserves. And finally, for the first time ever, women’s basketball regular season games will be aired on the ESPN networks along with the championship contests for volleyball and women’s basketball.”
While I wouldn't go so far as saying that the teams in the WAC are "championship level teams" (outside of Boise State Football), the Football games are some of the most exciting contests that you can watch each season. Anytime you get games that have point totals anywhere from 80 to 110....people are going to watch.