ESPN and WAC Reach Three-Year Agreement for Football and Basketball

    June 21, 2001

    FRESNO, Calif. - ESPN, Inc. and the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) have entered into an exclusive three-year agreement for football and basketball which begins in the 2001 football season and the 2001-2002 basketball season. The contract was announced by John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president, programming, and Karl Benson, WAC commissioner.

    The multi-faceted agreement, which returns the WAC to ESPN after a two-season absence, is highlighted by at least four football games annually (beginning this year with Oregon State at Fresno State on ESPN2, Sunday, Sept. 2), as well as select regular-season men's basketball games and the Conference Championship during Championship Week. The arrangement also involves ESPN Regional Television, ESPN.com, ESPN Classic, pay-per-view rights and more.

    "We continue to look for new ways to broaden our unmatched coverage of college athletics and this agreement will appeal to both existing and new ESPN fans across the country," said Wildhack. "We've enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the WAC over the years and we are happy to proclaim that the WAC is back on ESPN."

    Benson added: "The origin of the relationship between the WAC and ESPN dates back nearly two decades. Both have changed and grown significantly during that time, and we are extremely pleased that the partnership will be continued in the coming years."

  • Exclusive national cable television coverage of the conference on ESPN and ESPN2 with at least four games annually, primarily during less traditional college football windows. Telecast windows/games for the 2001 season follow:
      -- Sunday, Sept. 2 - Oregon State at Fresno State (ESPN2)
      -- Thursday, Sept. 13 - Texas Tech at UTEP (ESPN2)
      -- Friday, October 26 - Fresno State at Hawaii (ESPN)
      -- Friday, November 23 - Game TBD (ESPN2)
  • ESPN Regional Television has the right to syndicate select games and will be the broadcast network rightsholder for WAC football.
  • Pay-per-view rights for ESPN's GamePlan package
  • Exclusive national cable television rights for coverage of the conference on ESPN and ESPN2 with at least three regular-season appearances annually
  • Coverage of the Men's Tournament Championship Game during Championship Week.
  • ESPN Regional Television has the right to syndicate select games and will be the broadcast network rightsholder for WAC basketball.
  • Pay-per-view rights for ESPN's FULL COURT package
  • The right to televise Rainbow Classic games on ESPN and/or ESPN Regional Television

    OTHER ESPN, INC. ENTITIES

  • ESPN Classic: ESPN Classic will have access to WAC archives for network programs.
  • ESPN.com: ESPN will offer expanded coverage of WAC action online.
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