NEWPORT NEWS, VA. – The Atlantic 10 Conference has secured eight-year partnerships with ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Group for its media and television rights. The agreements, which were announced Tuesday, more than double the men's and women's basketball national exposure for the A-10 membership and will begin in 2013-14.
The new agreements will give the league unprecedented reach, distribution and marketing, allowing the Atlantic 10 to better serve its fans in its extensive media footprint and to leverage the promotional platforms and marketing assets of these three major national media companies. The A-10 is in seven of the top 25 media markets, including four of the top 10. Beginning in 2013-14, all 14 conference members will be in the top 65 media markets in the country and the Atlantic 10 media footprint will reach over 33 million television households, which is approximately 33 percent of the US television market.
"Our commitment to basketball at the highest level has allowed us to leverage our national exposure in the best way possible for the Atlantic 10," stated Bernadette V. McGlade, A-10 Commissioner. "Partnering with ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network for the next eight years is truly a historic moment for the A-10 and its member institutions."
The agreements provide over 192 total basketball exposures, including 146 men's basketball appearances. This includes coverage of the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of both the men's and women's basketball championships.
"The Atlantic 10 Conference looks forward to working with three of the very best media companies in the world," said Dr. Steven Knapp, George Washington University President and Chair of the A-10 Council of Presidents. "The conference is committed to academic and athletic excellence, and this media rights agreement will allow us to deliver our message nationwide while showcasing the best in Division I sports competition."
There will be 30 potential men's basketball appearances on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, 54 on CBS Sports Network and 50 on NBC Sports Network. The A-10 also receives additional commitments from NBC Sports Network Regional outlets. ESPN retains the rights to both the men's and women's basketball championship games. ESPN has sublicensed the men's championship to CBS Sports since 2010. CBS Sports Network will carry the semifinals of both basketball championships and NBC Sports Network will produce the quarterfinals of both championships.
"The Atlantic 10 is a very deep conference with a proven track record of success at the highest levels of the sport," said Burke Magnus, ESPN Senior Vice President, College Sports Programming. "This long-term extension will continue to serve fans with the Conference's premier content across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU into the next decade."
"The Atlantic 10 has been a terrific partner and we're proud to continue showcasing action from one of the top college basketball conferences for many years," said CBS Senior Vice President of Programming Dan Weinberg. "Our partnership has been an unquestioned success, and with the quality of basketball throughout the conference now stronger than ever, we're excited to annually feature an extensive line-up of games."
The NBC Sports Group agreement, the first between the A-10 and the new network, also includes a six-game package for the upcoming 2012-13 season. Originally listed on the 2012-13 schedule as A-10 TV, it includes one non-conference game and five conference contests spread out among seven different A-10 member institutions. The games will include significant promotion of the partnership between the Atlantic 10 Conference and NBC Sports Network.
"We are proud to add Atlantic 10 men's and women's basketball games to the NBC Sports Network schedule. The A-10 is an incredibly strong conference and features some of the most historic college basketball programs in the country," said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. "The A-10 is now one of the pillars of our ever-growing college basketball coverage."
The agreement further separates the Atlantic 10 from other conferences as the best basketball-driven conference in Division I. The only non-big six conference to have 41 at-large NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament selections in the past 20 years, including three in 2012, the A-10 has boasted 62 postseason appearances in the last decade. For the fifth year in a row, the Atlantic 10 Conference earned at least three bids and multiple at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament. Over the last six years, the Atlantic 10 has had 12 at-large selections – the seventh most among all other Division I conferences. A record eight A-10 institutions received invitations to the 2012 NCAA and NIT postseason tournaments, more than all but two conferences. The league added recent NCAA Final Four participants Butler and VCU this past summer and will play the 2013 A-10 Men's Basketball Championship in the new Barclays Center in the first year of a five-year agreement.
"These agreements, which will allow our fans the ability to watch Atlantic 10 basketball on national television more than ever before, further separates and solidifies the A-10 as the best basketball-centric conference in the country," said McGlade. "This deal also provides the A-10 increased control over future intellectual property rights and positions the league to be digital innovators. Having completed the national television agreements, my primary focus will now be on securing partnerships for the future A-10 digital network we are contemplating as well as our A-10 corporate partner program."
The Atlantic 10's digital rights and sponsorship rights, both of which were incorporated in previous agreements, are not included in the new deals, giving the league flexibility in its active discussions to determine future platforms for its inventory.
The league also will increase its women's basketball package to 32 regular season appearances across the three partner networks in addition to the seven championship games for a total of 46 television appearances by A-10 women's basketball teams. This represents a 77 percent increase in women's basketball television exposure for the A-10. Provisions of the new agreements also provide for national exposure for a variety of Olympic sports events as well.
About the A-10
The Atlantic 10 Conference was formed in 1976. Currently comprised of 16 member institutions and sponsoring 21 championship sports, the mission and goal of the Atlantic 10 is to preserve, protect, and enhance the academic and athletic pursuits of the membership. The conference is committed to integrity, educational excellence and providing quality equitable championship experiences for more than 6,000 student-athletes, coaches, and support staff. The member institutions of the Atlantic 10 are Butler University, the University of Dayton, Duquesne University, Fordham University, The George Washington University, La Salle University, University of Massachusetts, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Rhode Island, University of Richmond, St. Bonaventure University, Saint Joseph's University, Saint Louis University, Temple University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Xavier University. For more information on the Atlantic 10 Conference, please visit www.Atlantic10.com.
ESPN, Inc., is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of eight 24-hour domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN 3D and the regionally focused Longhorn Network) and five HD simulcast services (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes). Other businesses include ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (48 networks, syndication, radio, digital), ESPN Radio (broadcast, satellite, digital, a growing category led by ScoreCenter), ESPN.com (plus a variety of sport-, college-, and market-specific sites), ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises and espnW. Multi-screen offerings include WatchESPN (access to several ESPN networks online and via an app), ESPN3 (live multi-screen network available online, on the go and via Xbox LIVE) and ESPN Mobile (mobile Web, mobile TV and video, apps, alerts and messaging). Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
About CBS Sports Network
CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) is the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports. The Network covers more than 350 live games annually, showcasing more than 30 men's and women's sports, in addition to a variety of studio shows, documentaries and original programs. CBSSN's live programming is highlighted by college sports and also features professional lacrosse, Professional Bull Riding (PBR), the sports news and commentary show ROME, the weekly studio show NFL Monday QB and the Tim Brando Show. CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 613 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, and to access the CBS Sports Network channel finder, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.
About NBC Sports Network
A part of the NBC Sports Group, NBC Sports Network is the 24/7 cable platform for NBC Sports' rich heritage of unmatched storytelling, best-in-class production and utilizing broad promotion to make big events bigger. Now in more than 75 million homes, NBC Sports Network serves sports fans by airing coverage of the Olympic Games and Trials as well as the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, major college football, basketball and hockey, and horse racing surrounding the Triple Crown, among other events. The network's original programming, such as Costas Tonight, NFL Turning Point and NBC SportsTalk, exemplifies NBC Sports' ability to tell stories and provide meaningful, relevant content. The network is also home to the best outdoor programming on television. NBC Sports Network, which prides itself on serving sports fans across multiple platforms, is distributed via cable, satellite and telco operators throughout the United States.