Atlantic 10 Secures Long-Term Media Rights Agreements with ESPN, CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Group
Unprecedented Package Includes Increased National Exposure, Expanded Championship Coverage
Oct. 2, 2012
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.
COMMENTS FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATORS AND COACHES
"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."
"This media rights agreement is a credit to the Atlantic 10 Conference and Commissioner McGlade's commitment to maintaining our conference as a premier basketball conference that is on the level as any other in the country," said Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero. "Congratulations go to our President Steven Knapp, who chairs the A-10 Council of Presidents, and the television committee for securing a deal that will allow GW to showcase our product to a nationwide audience with increasing regularity."
"This new media rights deal truly cements the Atlantic 10 Conference as the top basketball-centric league in the nation," said GW men's basketball head coach Mike Lonergan. "Exposure on national television is a big factor for success in today's world of college basketball, so now we're going to be better positioned to raise the profile of our basketball program to recruits, fans and alumni."
"We are thrilled to enter into this new deal that will allow us to expand our partnership with ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Group to have a unique position in college basketball and increase our exposure nationally on TV both during the regular season and the A-10 Championship," said GW women's basketball head coach Jonathan Tsipis. "This is a pioneering move by the conference to further extend our brand and opportunity for our alumni to see us play nationally."
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 sponsorship rights and digital rights to games not selected by the national partners, 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.
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