The Big East Conference announced today a major television deal with ESPN that will thrust the conference into the television sets of sports fans across the country.
What does this mean for Marquette? Plenty. The six year extension to the television contract means television and the dollars associated with the contract are set until 2013-14 season. It also means MU basketball will be on television on a NATIONAL platform with great regularity. For example, EVERY MU Big East men's basketball game will be on television. For that matter, every BIG EAST intra-conference game will be televised.
This is great news for MU in terms of exposure, recruiting and dollars.
Here is an excerpt from today's press conference:
Every single intra-conference men's basketball contest will be televised. As a result, the BIG EAST Conference and its 16 members will reach more households than any other conference in the country. Specifically, ESPN will produce 139 of the 144 available regular season BIG EAST intra-conference men's basketball games - all except those five games belonging to CBS -- and will televise those contests on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPN Regional (ERT), ESPNU or ESPN360.
ESPN or ESPN2 will broadcast a minimum of 64 BIG EAST games each year: 49 regular season games (41 conference and eight home non-conference) and all 11 BIG EAST Championship games. Consequently, the BIG EAST will have four to five games broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2 each week during the conference season.
The BIG EAST will continue to be the only conference in the country to have each and every one of its men's basketball tournament games televised by ESPN. There were record audiences for the 2006 BIG EAST Championship, including the final game, which was the highest-rated cable tournament final of the year (2.58).
In addition, ESPN Regional will carry a minimum of 80 games (66 conference and 14 home non-conference) 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 ERT are also available nationally as part of ESPN Full Court, the pay subscription college basketball outer-market service.
Many of the games will be on ESPNU so if your cable company doesn't have it...call them and complain. Otherwise DIRECTV has it at an affordable rate.
To read the complete press release at BigEast.org please click.