ESPN and the NCAA have extended their TV rights deal through 2023-24, giving the network worldwide multi-media rights to 24 NCAA championships for various sports and exclusive international rights for men's basketball's "March Madness" tournament.
The new deal, which takes effect immediately, includes more than 600 hours of live telecasts across myriad ESPN platforms, from its flagship network to ESPN 3 to ESPN Deportes.
ABC News has reported that the deal is worth $500 million.
As it has before, ESPN will have exclusive coverage of the National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s basketball championship and “broad” rights to the Division I football championship, and both the men’s and women’s College World Series.
To reach the total of 24 championships, ESPN has added seven more sports — women's gymnastics, men's and women's fencing, Division I women's lacrosse, Division I men's and women's outdoor track, and women's bowling.
“We have enjoyed a great relationship with the NCAA that has spanned the history of ESPN,” George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN and ABC Sports, and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, said in a statemnet. “This is our most comprehensive agreement yet and ensures sports fans will have access to top-level NCAA athletics across ESPN networks and platforms.”
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The NCAA helped put ESPN on the map back in the 1980s with its coverage of men’s college basketball. While domestic coverage of March Madness remains a joint venture between CBS and Turner with the Final Four airing on CBS, ESPN has the exclusive international rights. It also provides comprehensive coverage of the National Invitational Tournament, the second-tier year-end championship.
ESPN has “exclusive final round coverage” of everything from Division I soccer to wrestling to lacrosse. It will also air more early round coverage in several sports.