So You Want to Play on Television?

According to Ferd Lewis of the Honolulu Advertiser, the Western Athletic Conference has reached a new deal with ESPN to provide coverage of the league's major sports.

The WAC had been making just under $1 million a year under it's previous contract and will mike around four times that much under the new contract.

Even more important than the financial part of the deal is the additional games that will be televised by ESPN. WAC basketball teams could appear on ESPN or ESPN2 up to 10 times a year and WAC football games could be televised up to 20 times a year. Women's basketball is also expected to be part of the new package.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson and the WAC Board of Directors stood strong in negotiations with ESPN, turning down previous offers and declining to compromise their stand when ESPN wanted to move certain games in recent years.

The new deal has not been released, but it is expected to run for five to seven years.

Today's news should be a big boost in recruiting for Louisiana Tech and other WAC schools. The WAC is now on more of a level playing field with the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA. In Fact, Conference USA signed a contract with ESPN in 2005 that calls for only 11 televised football games and seven basketball games.

The Mountain West Conference opted not to sign with ESPN but instead partenered with CSTV in 2006. THe MWC's deal with CSTV was marketed as a visionary deal that would provide over twice the exposure that rival leagues enjoyed. However, reviews have been mixed over the networks ability to get games in most markets nationwide.

Recruits pay attention to televised games. Tech is set to appear in three nationally televised football games in 2008 and eight televised football games overall.

Fans now have even more opportunities to see the most exciting football in the country and what has historically been some of the nation's best basketball.


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