Keith Gill announces a new broadcast deal that reflects the strength of the Sun Belt
In addition to declaring the Sun Belt “the best autonomous five conference in college football,” Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill announced that the conference has expanded its media rights deal sports monolith ESPN. The new agreement, which still runs through the 2030-31 academic year, will provide the Sun Belt with additional resources, exposure and “linear opportunities” for Sun Belt football and basketball.
The agreement expands upon the Sun Belt’s extended ESPN media rights relationship—announced last year—which resulted in a more than 50 percent increase in the number of Sun Belt football games that appeared on ESPN’s linear offerings (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU), including 40 percent of those new opportunities televised on a Saturday.
“This new agreement is a recognition of the growth of the Sun Belt Conference and our commitment to excellence in all sports,” said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Keith Gill. “On behalf of the entire Sun Belt, I want to thank Nick Dawson, ESPN Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions, and the college sports team at ESPN for their support of the Sun Belt Conference. I look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship.”
The new agreement, which still runs through the 2030-31 academic year will result in more than 6,000 additional live events available on ESPN+ including men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, baseball and softball.
This commitment to Olympic sport coverage will include an equal number of baseball and softball contests—over 1,000 events in each sport—and will feature instant replay for the 2023 season. The conference also plans to decrease the overlaps of baseball and softball conference homestand weekends in future seasons to further enhance ESPN+ coverage.
The Sun Belt’s athletic success has never been more prominent. In addition to the conference’s notable accomplishments on the football field, the Sun Belt has seen increased success amongst its Olympic sports over the past five years. In that span, the Sun Belt has boasted nine NCAA softball tournament appearances, 10 trips to the NCAA baseball tournament and over 100 MLB draft picks.
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