ESPN, American Athletic Conference agree 12-year rights extension

ESPN has agreed a a 12-year contract extension for the American Athletic Conference’s global media rights from 2020-21.

The new deal will give the collegiate athletic conference increased exposure on ESPN’s linear platforms as well as blanket coverage on OTT platform ESPN+. The current agreement between ESPN and the AAC runs from 2013-14 to 2019-20.

Multiple published reports indicate the value of the contract is about $1bn for the conference over the 12-year period.

During the course of the agreement the AAC will have at least 20 football games each season broadcast on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 as well as 25 men’s basketball games broadcast over-the-air on ESPN or ESPN2. Including ESPN+, almost every AAC Football and Men’s and Women’s Basketball game will be broadcast live.

The deal also includes the Navy home football game against Notre Dame. Those rights are currently controlled by CBS Sports. Navy games against other service academies are not part of the deal.

“This long-term, multifaceted agreement with the AAC allows us to build upon our existing relationship and deliver a comprehensive, end-to-end exposure solution to the conference for all their content,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice-president of programming and scheduling.

The AAC currently has schools in five of the 18 largest media markets in the country.