July 16, 2014
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - The Sun Belt Conference and ESPN announced today a content expansion within their agreement that will result in the exclusive distribution of up to an additional 50 Sun Belt events on ESPN3 - ESPN's live multi-screen sports network.
"ESPN continues to live up to its billing as the `Worldwide Leader in Sports' with the advances that it has made in digital content," said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson. "ESPN3 and WatchESPN have revolutionized how viewers consume sports - we are excited to be part of that and eager to display the Sun Belt to the 92 million homes that ESPN3 reaches."
Fans will begin seeing the product of the expanded agreement this fall when a number of Sun Belt football games will be exclusively produced and distributed on ESPN3. The fall sports season will also feature the conference's Women's Soccer, Men's Soccer, and Volleyball Championships on the network. A number of men's and women's regular-season basketball games will be available along with every contest from the 2015 Sun Belt Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. Baseball will be featured heavily in the spring with a run of regular-season games and up to seven matchups from the conference championship being made available. Several games from the 2015 Softball Championship will also be carried on ESPN3.
We regularly work with our league partners on ways to expand the distribution of content across our various platforms," said Brent Colborne, director, ESPN programming. "The incremental events added from the expansion with the Sun Belt is a great complement to our current long-term agreement with the conference."
The deal that has been struck will also be instrumental in the future of airing more live events as the conference and ESPN will work jointly to develop a school production based model. This will result in Sun Belt members being able to deliver high quality productions that can be featured on ESPN3 throughout the year.
"One of the more unique aspects of this alliance is that the Sun Belt is going to work with ESPN to make sure our institutions are capable of producing their own content that meets ESPN3's production standards," Benson remarked. "This has the potential to make a tremendous impact on the total number of Sun Belt contests - in all sports - that will be available on ESPN3."
About the Sun Belt Conference
The Sun Belt Conference mantra "Together We Rise" exemplifies what has quickly become America's most up-and-coming collegiate athletics conference.
Founded in 1976, the Sun Belt has adapted and evolved in its nearly 40 year existence. The league was originally formed as a home for some of the nation's premier mid-major basketball teams and it wasn't until a number of changes and the demand for a higher national profile that the league began sponsoring football in 2001. Because of this decision to move the league in to the group of football playing conferences, the Sun Belt Conference has a permanent seat on the NCAA's 18-member Board of Directors. As a result, the conference has a crucial voice on some of the most pressing issues in college athletics.
The Sun Belt Conference's membership consists of 11 football members for 2014 - Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Idaho, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy. UALR and UT Arlington compete in all-sports as non-football members while Idaho and New Mexico State are football only members.
For more information on the Sun Belt Conference, visit www.sunbeltsports.org
ESPN3 is ESPN's live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of exclusive sports events annually. It is accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast (via the WatchESPN app), Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The network is currently available to more than 92 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.
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