ESPN, BIG EAST Reach New Six-Year Agreements

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Athletics News |

Aug. 29, 2006

NEW YORK - The BIG EAST Conference and ESPN have agreed to a pair of six-year contracts that will significantly enhance Cincinnati's exposure in football, men's basketball, and women's basketball.

The Bearcats will appear on the ESPN Networks four times this football season. The new deal, which will be in effect from 2008-2013, calls for a total of 17 BIG EAST games to appear on ABC or one of the ESPN family of networks.

In men's and women's basketball, the new agreement will run from the 2007-08 season until 2012-13. It calls for over 120 men's games and over 20 women's games to appear on an ESPN station, including Game of the Week packages for both that will be cleared on ESPN Regional.

Details of the agreements:

Football:

* ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will carry a total of 17 games each season, the highest guaranteed total for ESPN and ABC in the history of the conference.

* On Championship Saturday in December, one game will appear on ABC or ESPN with a second game shown on ESPN2.

* There will be four BIG EAST games featured on ESPN's Thursday night package. At least one game will be part of ESPN's Saturday Prime Time series.

* The BIG EAST will provide two games for ESPN on Sunday nights.

* ESPN Regional will continue to produce and distribute its Game of the Week package that is syndicated throughout BIG EAST markets and beyond. The nation's largest college football regional network, ESPN Regional's BIG EAST package reaches more than 30 million homes. Most of these games are also offered as part of the ESPN GamePlan pay subscription service.

* ESPNU will carry a minimum of five home games.

Men's Basketball:

* ESPN and ESPN2 will telecast a minimum of 60 games each year, which includes 49 regular season and all 11 games of The BIG EAST Championship Presented by Aeropostale. The 49 regular season contests include 41 conference contests and eight non-conference home games.

* The BIG EAST has always enjoyed tremendous exposure on ESPN and its family of networks. The new deal brings even more. ESPN, Inc. will produce 139 of the 144 regular season conference games. The five remaining games will be carried by CBS.

* ESPN Regional will carry 66 games and continue its weekend Game of the Week package which reaches approximately 30 percent of the nation's homes and has a total household reach of more than 30 million. Most games offered by ESPN Regional are also available nationally as part of ESPN Full Court, the pay subscription college basketball outer-market service.

* ESPNU or ESPN 360, the network's customized broadband service, will carry 30 games.

* ESPN or ESPN Regional also will produce a minimum of 22 non-conference home games.

* The BIG EAST will continue its regular appearances on ESPN's Big Monday.

* The BIG EAST Championship Presented by Aeropostale remains the only conference basketball postseason tournament to have every game televised nationally. Last March, the BIG EAST title game between Syracuse and Pittsburgh had a 2.58 rating, the highest rated cable tournament final in 2006.

Women's Basketball:

* Over the past two seasons, the BIG EAST had its most appearances ever on ESPN. The new pact is even more expansive, guaranteeing the BIG EAST an average of 11 regular season appearances annually.

* On ESPNU, the BIG EAST will have a minimum of 15 appearances each season. Included in those appearances will be six conference games and three home non-conference games or seven conference games and one non-conference home game.

* The BIG EAST and ESPN Regional will clear an eight-week Game of the Week package each Saturday in a consistent time slot. The BIG EAST will be the only conference in the country with a weekend Game of the Week package.

* The title game of The BIG EAST Championship Presented by Aeropostale will continue to be carried on ESPN or ESPN2. The semifinals will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. This past year, ESPNU telecast the semifinals. ESPNU has the exclusive right to televise all additional tournament games. If ESPNU does not exercise its right, the remaining games can be carried by ESPN Regional as an extension of the Game of the Week package.