Atlantic 10 Conference Inks Three-Year Extension With ESPN, ESPN+
The Atlantic 10 Conference has secured a three-year extension to its relationship with ESPN and ESPN+ for a selection of the league’s television and streaming rights. The agreement, which was announced Wednesday, maintains the league’s TV coverage on the leading sports media platform through 2023-24.
The extension maintains the coverage of 28 men’s basketball appearances on ESPN, four regular season women’s basketball appearances and the women’s basketball championship, which it has carried for the previous 23 years. For the last five years, ESPN’s coverage of Atlantic 10 men’s basketball has featured the A-10 ESPN Friday Night Showcase, which highlights a key conference matchup as the spotlight game in college basketball during Fridays in January, February, and March.
“ESPN has been an outstanding partner for a very long time for the Atlantic 10,” stated A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “Between the popular A-10 ESPN Friday Night Showcase and nearly a quarter century of women’s basketball coverage, this is a relationship that has been fruitful for both ESPN and the A-10, and continuing the partnership was an easy decision.”
ESPN also retains the rights the A-10 Men’s Basketball Championship final, which ESPN has sub-licensed to CBS Network Television since 2010.
“The Atlantic-10 Conference is a valued partner of ESPN,” said Nick Dawson, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. “As this relationship continues, we look forward to showcasing the conference’s best matchups this season, and for years to come, across television and ESPN+.”
Additionally, the Atlantic 10’s relationship with ESPN+ has been extended until 2024 as well, providing high-quality streaming coverage for hundreds of games that are not part of the linear television package. This is expected to be an average of 188 men’s games and 196 women’s basketball games.
“ESPN+ has the best model in the collegiate sports streaming space, with an incredible user experience with an affordable price point and extensive programming,” added McGlade. “The addition of the digital agreement with ESPN+ in 2018 provided wall-to-wall coverage, which we’re excited to continue to provide for fans and alumni of the league.”
The agreement was originally signed in October of 2012 and as part of the total A-10 media rights package, gave the league unprecedented reach, distribution and marketing. Atlantic 10 institutions reside in states that comprise 33.3 million television households, approximately 30 percent of the total national media market. There are eight A-10 institutions in the top 25 media markets in the country, and all 14 A-10 institutions are located in or adjacent to the top 65 media markets.
The extension keeps the Atlantic 10, which is celebrating its 45th Anniversary in 2020-21, among the top basketball conferences in television coverage. The A-10 has boasted 65 postseason appearances in the last decade, 35 of which have been bids to the NCAA Tournament. The conference earned multiple at-large bids to 13 of the last 14 NCAA Tournaments. Over the past six years, every A-10 member has made at least one postseason appearance. League member Dayton had a magical season last year, reaching a No. 3 ranking in the AP and Coaches’ Polls. The Flyers, behind National Player of the Year Obi Toppin and National Coach of the Year Anthony Grant, were being forecasted as a Final Four team in media predictions before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the postseason.