ESPN, Sun Belt Conference Reach Rights Extension
ESPN has reached a comprehensive, long-term rights agreement with the Sun Belt Conference, through the 2027-28 season, adding eight seasons to the current deal that was set to expire following the 2019-20 season.
With the extension, ESPN will become the exclusive media partner of the Sun Belt Conference, delivering coverage of more than 500 conference-controlled events, across the conference’s 18 sports, each season on ESPN’s linear television networks and ESPN+, the company’s new streaming service launching this spring.
This new, exclusive deal sets the table for an integrated partnership between the Sun Belt, its member schools and ESPN’s industry-leading networks and platforms to allow all Sun Belt sports content, including live events and surround programming, to reach more fans in a variety of new ways.
“ESPN has a long, mutually beneficial relationship with the Sun Belt, dating back to our foundational years,” said ESPN Executive Vice President of Scheduling and Acquisitions Burke Magnus.
“We are thrilled to take that relationship to a new level via this new, innovative and exclusive extension, while also deepening our commitment to serving college sports fans. More Sun Belt events and content than ever before will now be available to fans however they choose to consume them in a more personalized and targeted manner.”
“The continuation of our agreement with ESPN marks one of the most historic announcements since the Sun Belt’s founding in 1976,” said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson.
“This is truly an ‘all in’ collaboration with ESPN, the Sun Belt, and our member institutions and the volume and accessibility of our games will have a profound impact on the future of the Sun Belt. We have enjoyed a long relationship with ESPN since its founding in 1979 and we look forward to being featured on its newest platform, ESPN+, which promises to revolutionize how fans of the Sun Belt and all of college sports watch their favorite teams in action.”
Beginning in the 2020-21 season, the first year of the extension, and continuing through the remainder of the deal, more than 500 Sun Belt events will be available on ESPN networks each season. A minimum of 15 of those events will air on ESPN’s linear networks with hundreds of additional events available exclusively on ESPN+. Details on the deal include:
- Football:All Sun Belt-controlled games exclusively on ESPN’s networks, with a minimum of 10 (including conference championship game) on one of ESPN’s linear television networks. Conference championship game on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 each year, beginning with the inaugural game in 2018.
- Men’s Basketball:All Sun Belt-controlled games exclusively on ESPN’s networks, with a minimum of six regular season appearances and the conference tournament championship game on one of ESPN’s linear television networks.
- Women’s Basketball:All Sun Belt-controlled games exclusively on ESPN’s networks, including the conference tournament championship game on one of ESPN’s linear networks.
- Additional Sports:All conference championship events exclusively on ESPN+. In addition, any Sun Belt-controlled regular season events produced, will be made available through ESPN+.