New TV deal between the WAC and ESPN!

About their deal with the WAC, ESPN Senior VP Burke Magnus said:
“The WAC is a significant player on the college landscape and we are thrilled they will call ESPN home through 2016-17. You can not talk championship level teams without including WAC members in that conversation.” (HA)

“We too at ESPN are very excited at the prospect of this announcement and the potential that this new agreement and extension holds for our company. As they have provided good content and great ratings for us, we recognize the need to reward them and extend them with certainty in distribution exposure and financial security.” (HSB)

HA Note: “ESPN and the Western Athletic Conference have reached a contract extension that will double the amount of football games telecast, feature 300 regular-season games in various sports and cover 45 championship events, including women’s volleyball tournaments. The contract runs through the spring of 2017. No financial terms were released.”

About how the ESPN deal shows the WAC’s importance, Dick Tomey said:
“I think that this is recognition throughout the nation that the WAC is increasing in its quality of play and its national visibility. It’s a recognition on the part of ESPN that this is a heck of a conference. So, we’re very pleased with that.” (HA)

HA Note: “Under the agreement, the number of football telecasts will double 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 games with an average of five on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. Every school will appear at least once on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. This season, at least two UH games will be on ESPN — Boise State Oct. 17 and either the Nov. 29 Washington State of Dec. 6 Cincinnati game.”

About the ESPN deal gives the WAC greater national exposure, WAC commissioner Karl Benson said:
“For the past five years, WAC football has benefited greatly from the exposure it has received from ESPN. 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.” (HA)

“For the past five years, WAC football has benefited greatly from the exposure it has received from ESPN. And in turn, the WAC has provided ESPN with some great games and some great ratings.” (HSB)

HA Note: “In women’s sports, volleyball and basketball championships will be aired on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. It also will air six regular-season events — in volleyball, basketball or softball — this year.”

Happy that women’s WAC sports, especially volleyball, will be shown on ESPN channels, Dave Shoji said:
“I’m thrilled the WAC and ESPN see an importance of adding more exposure for women’s sports on a national level. As the popularity of women’s sports has increased by large numbers over the years, we are getting closer to a time when our female athletes get to share the national spotlight with their male counterparts. I’m glad that the WAC has taken proactive steps that will not only help the teams in our conference, but also the growth of women’s sports in general.” (HA, HSB)

HA Note: “Men’s basketball coverage will quadruple the number of games per year with a minimum of six in the regular season on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 (three must be conference games). The WAC 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.”

Benson did not disclose financial terms, but he said:
“it was significant with a significant percentage increase.” (HA)

About the additional WAC games that will be on ESPN, and hinting that the WAC traded off more exposure for money now, JD said:
“I think the additional exposure for the WAC is fantastic. It’ll have a positive impact on all of the institutions in the WAC. It’s a balance between revenue and exposure, and the additional exposure could lead to more revenue. The more exposure you get, we’ll get better and better recruits, which leads to better teams and more ticket sales. Branding the WAC is extremely important and ESPN is the biggest brand out there. And for us to have a contract with ESPN, that’s going to be huge for the WAC’s brand perception.” (HSB)

About the success that the WAC has had including BSU and UH’s BCS bowls and Fresno State’s baseball national championship, Benson said:
“Beginning on Jan. 1, 2007, with Boise State’s dramatic win against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl that resulted in both an ESPY and an Emmy, to Hawaii’s perfect season last fall and a spot in the 2008 Sugar Bowl … and of course Fresno State’s incredible run to the College World Series and a national championship, to cap it off with this extension with ESPN truly shows the WAC has reestablished itself as one of the premier college sports conferences in the country.” (HSB)

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