ESPN expands Sun Belt Conference rights deal

US sports broadcaster ESPN has expanded its media rights agreement with the Sun Belt Conference collegiate sports organisation.

Under the expanded deal, ESPN will broadcast an additional 50 Sun Belt events via its live video-on-demand channel ESPN3.

Coverage will include the Conference’s women’s soccer, men’s soccer and volleyball championships.

ESPN3 will also broadcast a number of men’s and women’s regular-season basketball games, in addition to every contest from the 2015 Sun Belt men’s and women’s basketball championships.

In addition, ESPN3 will broadcast a run of regular-season games and up to seven matches from the Conference’s baseball championship. A number of games from the 2015 softball championship will also be broadcast by ESPN3.

The deal that has been struck sits within an existing long-term contract and will also result in the conference and ESPN working jointly to develop a school production based model.  This will result in Sun Belt members being able to deliver 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,” Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson said. “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.”