West Coast Conference Expands ESPN Relationship with Multi-Year Digital Media Rights Agreement
The West Coast Conference and ESPN have expanded their longstanding media rights relationship. In addition to showcasing more than 25 games on ESPN’s linear networks, ESPN+ will serve as the new, exclusive digital home for more than 900 conference events each year.
In the multi-year, multi-platform relationship, ESPN will continue to showcase 17 men’s basketball regular season games, six WCC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship games, and four additional events across the WCC’s 16 sports on its linear networks each year.
The WCC’s media rights agreements also include CBS Sports Network, which televises up to 12 regular season men’s basketball games each season.
Conference-owned regular-season events in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s water polo, baseball and softball that are not televised on ESPN networks or CBS Sports Network will be available on ESPN+ beginning with the 2023-24 seasons. The first live WCC events on ESPN+ will be five women’s soccer matches on Thursday, Aug. 17.
“I am excited to expand our longstanding relationship with ESPN,” West Coast Conference Commissioner Stu Jackson says. “While continuing our strong linear agreement, the ESPN+ platform and its more than 25 million subscribers provides exceptional visibility and access to showcase our regular season and conference championship events. ESPN provides the conference and our fanbase with great exposure to our events and I look forward to the launch of the WCC on ESPN+ this week.”
“We are thrilled that ESPN+ will be the exclusive digital home of the West Coast Conference through this expanded agreement, which offers a perfect complement to the men’s basketball games and other WCC events that are already available on ESPN networks,” says Dan Margulis, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions. “ESPN has enjoyed a strong, collaborative relationship with the WCC for more than two decades, and we will now have the opportunity to showcase the conference’s student-athletes across even more sports.”
With eight WCC programs finishing in the top eight of their respective NCAA Championship and 14 programs across 10 sports completing the year ranked in the top-25 of their respective national poll during the 2022-23 academic year, the WCC continues to compete for national championships. ESPN serves as the home for 31 NCAA Championship events, which provides the opportunity for WCC teams to host regular season and postseason events on the same platform.
The WCC will feature 12 of Its 16 sports on ESPN+, including conference championship events in men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, beach volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s water polo and rowing.
The WCC was assisted by global media rights consultant, Octagon, on its expanded agreement with ESPN.
“Octagon’s Global Media Rights Consulting division is proud to have assisted Commissioner Jackson and the West Coast Conference in striking its new multi-year agreement with ESPN+,” William Mao, Octagon’s Senior Vice President, says. “From day one of his tenure, Commissioner Jackson made it clear that a top priority of his was to elevate the WCC’s exposure and prestige. This expanded relationship via ESPN+ achieves that goal.”