WAC/ESPN Announce New Deal

The Western Athletic Conference and ESPN announced today that they have reached an agreement to extend their contract through April 2017.

WAC Commissioner Karl Benson and ESPN Senior Vice President Burke Magnus announced the new deal. Over 300 regular season WAC contests and 45 championship events will be aired on the ESPN networks.

"For the past five years, WAC football has benefited greatly from the exposure it has received from ESPN," said Benson. "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."

"The WAC is a significant player on the college landscape and we are thrilled they will call ESPN home through 2016-17," said Magnus. "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."

Not only will the new deal increase the exposure that the WAC and it's members will receive, but the financial benefits will also increase. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, the WAC will get approximately $4 million a year as opposed to $900,000 under the old agreement.

"For the past five years, WAC football has benefited greatly from the exposure it has received from ESPN," said Benson. "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 the finacial part of the deal is important, the exposure is indeed the most important part of the deal. A minimum of eight games a year will be shown on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2. A minimum six regular season basketball games will be shown on the three stations as well as a semi-final game and the league championship. Every school will get at least one football and one basketball game on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU.

Louisiana Tech Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Derek Dooley said the exposure to every school in the WAC will be tremendous. "People in Ruston certainly got a taste of the power of ESPN last weekend," he said. "It brought a tremendous amount of exposure to our program nationwide. It makes the deal very exciting as a football coach. As an athletic director, you can not deny the financial implications of the deal. We are very fortunate to strike a deal of this magnitude. It helps in recruiting for football, in all of our sports, even in the student body. It's a win for everyone."

Details of the deal are below:

Football: Double the number of games per year from eight to a minimum of 16 with at least 10 on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 and at least six on ESPNU. A minimum of nine games will be conference contests with an average of five on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. Every school will appear at least once on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Men's Basketball: Quadruple the number of games per year with a minimum of six regular season games each year on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 (three must be conference games). The conference championship game and one semifinal will also be shown on one of the three networks. A minimum of six regular season games each year on ESPNU plus one quarterfinal game from the tournament. Every school will appear at least once on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Women's Sports: Six regular season events (volleyball, basketball or softball) this year, seven next year and eight in 2010-11. The volleyball and women's basketball championships will be aired on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.


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