ESPN extends rights deal with Southern Conference

US sports broadcaster ESPN has extended its rights deal with the Southern Conference college sports organisation.

The deal will run for six years, from the 2015-16 season through to the end of the 2020-21 academic year, when the league will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Under the deal, the Southern Conference and its member schools will produce a minimum of 1,900 live events that will receive coverage on the broadcaster’s ESPN3 online streaming service. All 10 member schools will develop production capabilities by 2017. Previously, only Mercer and Furman produced content during the 2014-15 campaign.

During the final four years of the agreement, ESPN3 will each season broadcast live at least 45 American football games and 200 basketball matches.

ESPN will also continue to broadcast the men’s basketball championship game on its ESPN or ESPN2 television channels.

Men’s basketball will also receive coverage on one of ESPN’s linear platforms, which comprise the ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU and ESPNNews channels.