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Conference USA Strikes New Deal With ESPN, CBS Sports Featuring Mid-Week Football Games

“Obviously, revenue is important, but what kept coming up with our membership was exposure.”

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Conference USA has agreed to a new five-year media partnership with ESPN and CBS Sports that will see the league continue to air football and basketball games with its previous partners with one noticeable shift: the conference’s football games in the month of October will primarily be played on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

The move mirrors what the Mid-American Conference calls “MACtion” during the month of November when it plays the majority of it’s conference schedule on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for increased national exposure.

“Obviously, revenue is important, but what kept coming up with our membership was exposure,” Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod told Sports Business Journal. “How do we maximize our potential and move forward? … This is our chance to prove ourselves and then hopefully we’ll go back to the market (in five years) and increase our value.”

CBS secured the “tier one” rights for the conference, giving it the selection of 18 football and basketball games throughout the season. Additionally, CBS will air the conference’s football championship game, the men’s basketball tournament championship game, and the women’s basketball tournament semifinals and finals.

“We really liked is there are championships involved here,” said CBS Sports Executive Vice President of Programming Dan Weinberg. “That’s always the goal at CBS Sports to crown champions, and we’ve got several in this deal. … Another point that we liked was the deal retains our status as the league’s primary partner.”

The conference’s mid-week football games will be shared between the ESPN trio of ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU, while CBS will air its portion of games on CBS Sports Network. Sources told Sports Business Journal each conference member would make roughly $750,000 per year from the new deal.

Conference USA will add Liberty, Jacksonville State, New Mexico State, Sam Houston State, and Kennesaw State to the conference over the next two years. They’ll join existing members Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky, and UTEP for a 10-team conference.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

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    Dale Moog

    November 10, 2022 at 11:41 pm

    Will any games air on CBS(network) in this deal. Also does this mean they will not have a deal with Sinclair for games on Stadium.

    • Avatar photo

      Garrett Searight

      November 11, 2022 at 4:20 pm

      It looks like the C-USA football championship game will air on network CBS. And that is correct, C-USA will not have a deal with Sinclair for games on Stadium any longer. All games will be on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN+, or CBS/CBS Sports Network.

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Sports TV News

St. Louis Cardinals Announcer Dan McLaughlin Charged With Third DWI

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

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Dan McLaughlin

St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin has been charged with DWI after being arrested on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police received at least two phone calls from concerned drivers that a white BMW was driving erratically, with one caller saying it was driving into oncoming traffic.

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

Bally Sports Midwest and the released a joint statement Monday.

“We have been made aware that Dan McLaughlin was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Sunday night.. We are very disappointed to hear this, and are working to gather additional information before offering further comment.”

McLaughlin, 48, has served as the voice of the Cardinals for 24 years.

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Sports TV News

NFL Flex Scheduling Forces ESPN To Change Bowl Schedule

Jordan Bondurant

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The NFL flex scheduling an upcoming Las Vegas Radiers game out of Sunday Night Football on December 18 has forced ESPN to make a slight adjustment with its college bowl season schedule. But the change was something the worldwide leader was prepared to make.

The Raiders were originally scheduled to play the New England Patriots in the primetime window a week before Christmas, but with both teams losing ground in terms of the AFC playoff picture, NBC opted to go with a different game that night instead. Now fans will be tuning in to see the rematch between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.

The shift out of the Sunday night window for the Raiders forced ESPN to swap kickoff times for the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl the day before on December 17. Florida and Oregon State will play in Vegas at 2:30 p.m. eastern, with BYU and SMU facing off in Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m.

The switch allows workers at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas enough time to switch the venue over from college bowl game to Raiders home game.

“We are accustomed to flexibility and we anticipated having to maneuver our event schedules based on the possibility of the Raiders game being flexed,” said ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby.

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Sports TV News

FOX Scores Most-Watched PAC-12 Championship Game Ever

Jordan Bondurant

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Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game between Utah and USC drew the largest audience in the game’s history, according to FOX.

Over 6.2 million tuned in to watch the Utes dominate the Trojans 47-24 and dash USC’s hopes at making the College Football Playoff.

The network said viewership was up 45% compared to the 2021 title game, which aired on ABC and also featured Utah. The Utes won the conference crown in convincing fashion that year too, posting a 38-10 victory over Oregon.

The Pac-12 will be without USC and UCLA as member schools following the 2023 season. The Trojans and the Bruins will join the Big Ten in 2024.

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