ST. LOUIS -- The Missouri Valley Conference has entered into a new five-year agreement with ESPN that will feature an expanded number of national appearances across ESPN’s networks. The agreement with ESPN extends through the 2015-16 academic year and annually provides a minimum of 40 national appearances for Valley teams on ESPN platforms.
“Since its first telecast of a State Farm MVC Men’s Basketball Championship title game in 1986 to present day, ESPN has played a significant role in strengthening the Missouri Valley Conference brand,” said MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin. “This new contract will provide even greater reach for Missouri Valley athletics, particularly our men’s basketball, through ESPN’s various platforms.”
As part of the agreement, ESPN3 -- ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network -- will have the right to distribute all MVC TV Network productions and other MVC events airing in the Conference territory.
Additionally, ESPN3 will carry select Missouri Valley Conference events exclusively on the network, beginning with at least eight productions -- four men’s basketball contests and a women’s basketball game with more event selections to be determined -- in year one during the 2011-12 season. The number of events will increase each year of the contract.
“This new agreement extends a long and valuable relationship between ESPN and the Missouri Valley,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Senior Vice President, College Sports Programming.
“We strongly believe in the best available screen philosophy to reach fans wherever and whenever they consume sports, and the MVC has recognized the value of a platform like ESPN3 by making exclusive games available on the live multi-screen sports network,” Magnus added.
As part of the contract, ESPN receives the rights to the championship game of the State Farm MVC Men’s Basketball Tournament each year. The ESPN agreement will also include at least eight regular-season national TV men’s basketball appearances for the Missouri Valley Conference on ESPN or ESPN2 each year.
“The increased exposure on ESPN’s networks that is provided by our new agreement is only the beginning,” said Elgin. “This year, three of our teams are also participating in high-profile early season tournaments that are managed by ESPN Regional Television, and those events will provided at least eight more national exposures for MVC Teams.”
In addition to those contracted appearances on ESPN and ESPN2, eight additional Valley events will be produced for distribution on ESPNU, which debuted on March 4, 2005. The Valley could also earn additional appearances on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN3 as part of its annual participation in the SEARS BracketBusters series.
“The SEARS BracketBusters event has been a showcase for our schools, as they’ve made a late-season push for NCAA Tournament consideration,” said Elgin. “In all, we’ve played in a total of 38 telecasts shown on ESPN platforms at a critical juncture of past seasons. And of those teams (23) who have been victorious on ESPN airwaves, 10 have gone on to play in the NCAA Tournament.”