Bristol, Conn. -- ESPN has reached a long-term, exclusive
distribution deal with the Southeastern Conference (SEC) that covers all of the network's
cable and ancillary businesses.
The new eight-year deal, starting in the fall of 2001,
includes coverage of up to 18 college-football games and up to 20 men's and six women's
college-basketball games, the network said. The agreement also calls for up to three
additional women's events annually.
SEC programming will run on ESPN, as well as ESPN2, ESPN
Classic, ESPN.com and the network's pay-per-view college-basketball and college-football
packages. ESPN also receives expanded Internet and enhanced-TV rights as part of the
ESPN carried select SEC games on a nonexclusive basis
during its last contract.
"The SEC is excited to continue our relationship with
ESPN," SEC commissioner Roy Kramer said in a prepared statement. "This agreement
guarantees our conference national primetime cable exposure for the next 10 years."
ESPN president George Bodenheimer said in a prepared
statement that the agreement "allows [ESPN and the SEC] to continue to grow together
for another 10 years."