ESPN, WAC Ink Seven-Year Distribution Extension

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ESPN and the Western Athletic Conference Wednesday announced a seven-year contract extension that will keep the conference’s college football, basketball and Olympic sports telecasts on the network through 2017.

Under terms of the deal, ESPN will receive rights to distribute WAC football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and conference championships across ESPN, ESPN on ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN360.com, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Classic.

As part of the agreement, ESPNU will obtain rights to televise conference-controlled games for the first time beginning with the 2008-09 season.  

The network’s current contract with the WAC, which includes the likes of Boise State, Fresno State and Hawaii, was set to expire in 2010.

“The WAC is a significant player on the college landscape and we are thrilled they will call ESPN home through 2016-17,” Burke Magnus, ESPN’s senior vice president, college sports programming, said in a statement. “You can not talk championship level teams without including WAC members in that conversation. With this agreement, college sports fans will continue to see – in a bigger and better way—the quality and depth of the conference as well as the passion and enthusiasm of their supporters.”

Details of the new extension include ESPN’s family of networks televising a minimum of 10 football games each season, a minimum of six regular season college basketball games—as well as one conference tournament semifinal game and the championship game—and six regular-season women’s events in the sports of basketball, volleyball and softball in 2008-09.

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