The NCAA’s West Coast Conference announced new broadcast partnerships with ESPN and CBS Sports. WCC’s extended agreement with ESPN will run through the 2026-27 season, while also entering a new partnership with CBS Sports this year.
“We are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with ESPN and begin a new partnership with CBS Sports,” WCC Commissioner Gloria Nevarez said in the announcement. “The agreements with ESPN and CBS give the West Coast Conference unprecedented national exposure. We are grateful for the outstanding support from our national television partners and are very excited to showcase the WCC as a premier men’s basketball conference on these national platforms.”
The WCC consists of schools in California, Oregon, Utah and Washington, including one of the country’s premier men’s basketball programs, Gonzaga. Under the new agreement, seventeen regular season conference games will be televised on various ESPN outlets in addition to the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game of the WCC Tournament.
“The West Coast Conference is a valued long-time partner and a premier basketball conference,” said Nick Dawson, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. “We look forward to continue showcasing the conference’s best matchups and teams throughout the season, and for years to come.”
The new partnership will also see ESPN air four women’s basketball, or other WCC sporting events annually. Broadcast schedules have not been announced for either network yet, but CBS Sports will televise a minimum of nine WCC men’s basketball games each season.
“We are thrilled to partner with the West Coast Conference,” said Dan Weinberg, EVP, Programming, CBS Sports. “The West Coast Conference is a great basketball conference with some of the most premier programs in the country. Adding both the quality and depth the conference provides is important for the continued growth of CBS Sports Network and we look forward to our long-term partnership.”
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
PAC-12 Commissioner: Deion Sanders Adds Value In TV Rights Negotiations
“We knew some other information was coming, including the announcement of Coach Prime, and why would we do a media deal before that?”
Even if you are not a fan of Coach Prime, his influence is hard to deny. Since accepting the head coaching job at Colorado, Deion Sanders has made the Buffaloes a hot topic in the sports media. That almost never happens.
Will that enthusiasm and curiosity translate into dollars and cents? George Kliavkoff thinks so.
The PAC-12’s Commissioner told The Athletic that he has seen Colorado already reap the benefits for itself. When the team opens the 2023 season with College Football Playoff participant TCU, he expects the conference and it media partners to see the value of Deion Sanders too.
“I can’t imagine what the ratings are going to be for that game,” he told Andy Staples.
Fans of the PAC-12 and media that cover the conference have been wary of the Big 12 raiding the West Coast for a number of the remaining top brands. The Big 12 has been seen has having a stronger position to emerge as the third mega-conference after solidifying deals with FOX and ESPN last month.
Kliavkoff also said that Sanders is a factor in the conference not having a new television deal lined up yet.
“We knew some other information was coming, including the announcement of Coach Prime, and why would we do a media deal before that?” the commissioner said adding that Deion Sanders “absolutely adds value” for the conference and its media partners.
Kevin Warren: Big Ten Not Closing Door On ESPN Forever
This summer the Big Ten Conference inked new media rights deals with FOX, CBS and NBC that will be worth $7 billion per year over seven years. With the agreement, ESPN will no longer have rights to broadcast conference contests.
But to those saying that the conference will never again be partners with the Worldwide Leader, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren believes that isn’t the case.
“I’m constantly in a state of perpetual negotiation and relationship building,” Warren said in an interview at the Sports Business Journal Intercollegiate Athletics Forum on Wednesday. “I have incredible respect and admiration for (ESPN president) Jimmy Pitaro and (ESPN programming and original content president) Burke Magnus and (ESPN programming and acquisitions vice president) Nick Dawson. And now with the change from (former Disney CEO) Bob Chapek to Bob Iger, I have great respect for Disney as a company – and what its meant to our country – and for ESPN.”
Despite losing out on the Big Ten, which is shaping up to be one of the nation’s first college super conferences with the addition of USC and UCLA in 2024, ESPN will carry on with America’s other emerging super conference in the SEC, which will add Texas and Oklahoma as members in 2025. ESPN/ABC and the SEC have a 10-year media rights deal in place worth $300 million per season that will go into effect in 2024.
But Warren continued that with things being set in stone for at least the next decade in terms of media rights, there’s no reason to believe that the conference and the network can’t find ways to work together in the future.
“I’m a great believer that life is long, and I will continue to have communications with ESPN,” he said. “I have great respect for them. They’re incredibly important to this institution that we call college athletics. I stay in close contact, and opportunities do present themselves in unique ways.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’
“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”
Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.
He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.
“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.”
Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.
Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.
Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”