ESPN, MAC reach deal on rights

Updated: January 28, 2009, 2:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Mid-American Conference and ESPN have reached a deal for an eight-year contract extension through the 2016-17 academic year that covers rights across multiple platforms for football, and men's and women's basketball.

As part of the deal, ESPN will have the rights to the conference championships in all three sports for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Classic.

"Through demonstrated audience growth and success, both on the field and on the court, the MAC has proven to be a very popular and competitive conference," Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, college sports programming said in a statement. "The MAC and its member institutions have always had a shared vision of the benefits of creative scheduling. We are excited to continue to provide national exposure of their football and men's and women's basketball action across our multiple platforms including significant coverage on ESPNU."

The deal includes a minimum of 11 nationally televised football games a year, with six on ESPN or ESPN2 and five on ESPNU.

In addition, at least six men's or women's regular-season basketball games a year will be shown on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

The men's tournament championship game will be shown on ESPN or ESPN2; the women's championship game might be shown on ESPNU, depending on the tournament format.

The conference currently comprises: Akron; Bowling Green; Buffalo; Kent State; Miami of Ohio; Ohio; Ball State; Central Michigan; Eastern Michigan; Northern Illinois; Toledo; and Western Michigan. Temple competes in the MAC in football only.

"The breadth of this agreement, both in terms of the overall number of MAC events televised as well as the scope of the ESPN networks involved, truly solidifies the conference's long-term television future," MAC commissioner Rick Chryst said in a statement. "It brings further structure and consistency to our regional and national football television package, while offering important growth for both our men's and women's basketball programs."