ESPN Extends Rights Deal With Big South Conference on All Linear, Digital Platforms

ESPN and the Big South Conference have reached a comprehensive extension to its existing media rights deal, resulting in ESPN becoming the exclusive rights holder of the conference and greatly increasing the conference’s presence on its platforms. Starting in 2018-19, the Big South, its 11 member institutions, and fans will enjoy more than 900 conference events on ESPN+, the first multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company Direct-to-Consumer & International segment and ESPN. Select conference events will also continue to be televised on ESPN’s linear networks, including the men’s basketball conference championship game, and streamed ESPN3. The extension expands on the original agreement, which was set to expire after the 2018-19 season.

“Through this innovative multi-platform extension, we have simultaneously bolstered our ESPN+ lineup and continued a long-standing relationship with the Big South Conference,” says ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus. “We are thrilled to become the exclusive rights holder for the conference, carrying nearly 1,000 games each year on our platforms, including numerous conference championship games. The Big South also adds to the exclusive content fans can find on ESPN+, which now includes more than 15 college conferences, to go along with professional leagues such as MLB, NHL, MLS and premier events from Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, UFC, and the PGA Tour.”

“This is a great day for the Big South,” says Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander. “For 27 years ESPN has carried compelling Big South content, and for 27 years the Big South has been a willing partner for the company’s latest innovation —  whether it was ESPNU, ESPN3, or now ESPN+. We have benefited tremendously from ESPN’s leadership in the media landscape, and are thrilled to provide seven more years of comprehensive exposure for Big South student-athletes and member institutions.”

Beginning this fall and continuing through the length of the deal, every conference-controlled football and men’s and women’s basketball game will be available on an ESPN platform, with the significant majority of those being carried on ESPN+.

Numerous Big South sports will see increased exposure on ESPN+, including men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and lacrosse, baseball, softball, and more, with a variety of these sport’s conference championship games streaming on ESPN+. The men’s basketball championship will continue to be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.

In addition to the men’s basketball championship, at least four regular season men’s basketball games will air on ESPN’s linear television networks. Additional conference games will air on ESPN’s linear networks and be streamed on ESPN3.

As a result of this new extension, ESPN and Big South will continue a relationship which began in 1991. When this latest agreement expires, ESPN will have cariedr Big South games for more than 30 years.

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