ESPN has reached a new multiyear agreement with the NCAA under which it has secured, expanded multimedia rights to 24 collegiate championships, including the women's Division I basketball tournament.
The deal, through the 2023-24 academic year, also covers exclusive multimedia rights outside the U.S., its territories and Bermuda for the Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship. The new agreement, which takes effect immediately, also provides expanded coverage of each round of the NIT Season Tip-Off and all games from the NIT Postseason Tournament across the ESPN networks.
The deal, which supercedes the three remaining years of the current contract, is valued at some $500 million over 14 school years, according to the NCAA.
Through a deal with the NCAA that was carved out of a CBS pacakge of rights, ESPN in 2003 began televising all women's NCAA basketball-tournament games, as well as 20 other college championships, as part of an 11-year pact valued at more than $200 million.
Under the new pact, ESPN and its networks retain exclusive coverage of the Division I Women's Basketball Championship and broad rights covering the NCAA Division I Football Championship, plus the men's and women's baseball and softball World Series, swimming and diving, lacrosse and soccer championship action.
ESPN is also adding coverage of seven NCAA championships: Division I women's gymnastics, men's and women's fencing, women's lacrosse, men's and women's outdoor track & field and women's bowling. ESPN will also air additional preliminary round coverage of selected NCAA championships, including Division I football (FCS), women's volleyball, softball and baseball.
All told, the new agreement encompasses 600-plus hours and 300 telecasts of live coverage annually across more platforms than ever before. The worldwide leader can now express the NCAA rights on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN 3D, ESPN Mobile, ESPN Full Court, GamePlan, Buzzer Beater, Goal Line, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes, ESPN.com and WatchESPN. Many of the 24 championships will be produced in high-definition on ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD and ESPNU HD.
"We have enjoyed a great relationship with the NCAA that has spanned the history of ESPN," said George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN and ABC Sports, and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, in a statement. "This is our most comprehensive agreement yet and ensures sports fans will have access to top-level NCAA athletics across ESPN networks and platforms."