No surprise after Fox passed yesterday. Here’s the announcement.
ESPN and BCS Reach Four-Year Agreement
All Games on ESPN 2011-2014; Also Includes Rights For ESPN Radio, Digital Media, International, Marketing and More
ESPN has reached an extensive agreement with the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), granting exclusive TV, radio, digital, international and marketing rights for 15 BCS games from January 2011 through January 2014. It includes the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar Bowls each season and the BCS National Championship Game in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The announcement was made by George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, and John Swofford, BCS Coordinator and ACC Commissioner.
“The BCS will thrive on ESPN,” Bodenheimer said. “Our slogan is ‘College Football Lives Here’ and the BCS will now top college football’s best regular-season and studio coverage, the sport’s top awards shows, Bowl Week and other national championships all carried on our family of networks. This is a proud day for ESPN and an exceptional day for this great sport and its passionate fans.”
Swofford added, “We are tremendously pleased to reach an agreement with ESPN and feel that the BCS games from 2011-14 will be in good hands. With the continued growth of technology and the depth of coverage that ESPN gives to the college football fan on all its platforms during the regular-season, this post-season partnership is a natural fit.”
ESPN, currently available in 98 million homes, will televise these BCS bowls (Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and National Championship Game) in primetime each January. The official BCS schedule for 2011 and beyond will be released at a later date. Also, when weekly BCS standings begin, they will be unveiled on ESPN each Sunday (show and time TBD).
ESPN Radio, which has broadcast all BCS games since 2000, gains exclusive national radio rights for the length of the deal (2011-2014). ESPN Radio is in the midst of a sub-license agreement (expires in 2010) with current BCS rightsholder Fox to broadcast the games. ESPN Radio currently has 750 affiliates that carry content, including more than 335 full-time affiliates. In addition, ESPN Deportes Radio has exclusive Spanish-language rights.
Digital media is another major part of the new ESPN-BCS arrangement. ESPN.com, the leading sports website, receives significant content rights, and will operate the official BCS website (bcsfootball.org), which features standings, updates, history, news and more. In addition, games may be simulcast online through ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature 24/7 broadband sports network; and on mobile devices through ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN’s first 24/7 channel for wireless.
ESPN International will distribute and televise the BCS matchups around the world through networks and syndication, including on the re-branded ESPN America (known as NASN until Feb. 2009), the only network in Europe completely dedicated to North American sports. In addition, ESPN has the right to televise BCS games on ESPN Deportes, the U.S. Spanish-language sports network.
Marketing Rights: ESPN has secured marketing rights to the BCS games, including the BCS National Championship Game. Among these rights will be the ability to sell bowl entitlements and title sponsorships, which will create season-long (opening kickoff through National Championship Game) opportunities for ESPN college football advertisers.
Exclusive BCS-branded programming: Exclusive BCS-branded programming (including BCS standings announcements) will be presented on the ESPN networks throughout the season and year round.
ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, can feature encore presentations of current and past BCS games, and will present extensive BCS-related programming leading up to and surrounding the games.
ESPN Classic can also present encore presentations of current and past BCS games, including “Instant Classics.”
ESPN’s Video On Demand (VOD) will make BCS games available after the fact by distributing through affiliates’ VOD platforms and through audio and video podcasts.
MAJOR SPORTS ON CABLE
This will mark the first time BCS bowls will be featured on cable television, joining other major events with a cable home such as the NBA Conference Finals, British Open (all four rounds), Monday Night Football, MLB League Championship Series, Breeders’ Cup, Stanley Cup Finals and many more.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL ON ESPN
ESPN offers the most extensive coverage of college football across numerous platforms including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN360.com, ESPN.com, ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN GamePlan pay-per-view service, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN International. Coverage features more than 400 regular- and post-season games involving numerous conferences (ESPN is the only network to televise home games from all six BCS conferences), including nearly 30 bowl games, and the NCAA Football Championship Sub-Division, Division II and Division III playoffs culminating with the championship of each; the Heisman Trophy Presentation and The Home Depot College Football Awards; the popular road show College GameDay Built by The Home Depot; the year-round daily College Football Live; the weekly College Football Final and College Football Countdown; and news and features throughout the year on SportsCenter, First Take, PTI and Outside the Lines.
The BCS is a five-game arrangement for post-season college football that is managed by the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and Notre Dame. Its purpose is to match the two top-ranked teams in the final BCS standings in a national championship game and to create competitive match-ups in the four other BCS bowl games. For more information, visit http://www.bcsfootball.org.
The agreement is subject to approvals