The MAAC continues to expand the ability to be seen of its basketball programs, and an announcement earlier today of a new six-year arrangement for games to be televised over ESPN not only proves that, but shows league games are attractive commodities.
Here are some highlights:
- In total, the deal features a record 80 national appearances over 40 scheduled contests, an increase of 25% from last year’s schedule and the most ever for the MAAC. All 10 member institutions will receive a minimum of three men’s basketball and one women’s basketball appearances this year over multiple national platforms of ESPN networks.
“I personally believe in the ESPN brand and its ability to place the MAAC above many of its mid-major competitors,” said MAAC Commissioner Richard J. Ensor, Esq. “The ability to have extensive nationally televised opportunities across ESPN platforms is important to the growth and recognition of the MAAC with college basketball fans in a time when schools are looking to their respective conferences to provide such exposure.”
- The agreement continues to include the men’s championship game on ESPN or ESPN2 and the women’s championship game on ESPNU, two men’s basketball appearances on ESPN or ESPN2, and continuation of a weekly game on ESPNU. The agreement features a new National MAAC Game of the Week on ESPN3, ESPN’s multi-screen network available through an affiliated Internet or video provider online via WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and on ESPN on Xbox LIVE.
- This season, ESPNU will air eight league games on seven dates starting on Jan. 6 with the Iona men hosting Niagara. A 2011 women’s championship game rematch between Loyola and Marist at the newly renovated McCann Arena will tipoff a MAAC doubleheader at 6 p.m. ET on Jan. 20 with a Rider at Iona men’s contest scheduled to follow at 10 p.m. on the network.
- ESPN3 will be the home of the conference’s new National MAAC Game of the Week, beginning with defending champion Saint Peter’s hosting Canisius at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City on Jan. 5. ESPN3 will carry at least 10 MAAC Game of the Week games over seven days. A total of 21 regular season games will be carried exclusively on ESPN3 – 14 men’s and 7 women’s games.
- The agreement also features extensive coverage of the MAAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships with 10 games set for air on one of the ESPN platforms during the annual joint championships to be hosted for the first time at the neutral site MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass. from March 1-5, 2012.
“The MAAC’s new six-year agreement with ESPN further cements the relationship between the conference and the network that extends the MAAC’s package on ESPNU, the league’s hosting of the Old Spice Classic at ESPN Wide World of Sports, full-in status for the ESPN BracketBusters weekend and now an exciting tourney package on ESPN3,” notes Ensor. “The branding of ESPN has proven very beneficial to the league and the addition of a National MAAC Game of the Week format on ESPN3 similar to what the league currently has on ESPNU on Friday will enhance the MAAC’s branding and visibility on a national level.”
- Games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU are also accessible through WatchESPN, ESPN’s authenticated networks service. The networks are currently available to Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS TV and Bright House Networks video customers online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. Once users visit WatchESPN, they will receive instructions to enter the appropriate cable subscriber credentials to begin accessing ESPN content from their PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet device.
Here's a link to the MAAC site that lists the coming season's entire national television schedule for conference games: