The West Coast Conference and ESPN announced today an eight-year contract extension that will make the ESPN networks the conference's men's basketball national television home through the 2018-19 school year.
"We are elated to reaffirm our long term partnership with ESPN for another eight years," West Coast Conference Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich said. "ESPN has played a critical role in helping build and extend our brand as a premier national basketball conference, and this agreement will ensure that more West Coast Conference events will be telecast across more national television platforms than ever before."
According to terms of the agreement, the West Coast Conference will receive a minimum of 48 annual men's basketball appearances on the ESPN networks from the 2011-12 through 2018-19 seasons. The 48 annual appearances include conference games and home non-conference games that are televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. The WCC has averaged 38 ESPN annual men's basketball appearances over the last three seasons with conference games counting as two appearances and non-conference games as one appearance.
Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, college sports programming, said, "We are thrilled to continue our exclusive long-term relationship with the West Coast Conference and its member institutions. The WCC is a premier conference, recently made even better by the addition of Brigham Young University. This agreement allows us to showcase more WCC content than ever before to fans through all our networks and platforms, and via any available technology or device."
As part of the agreement, ESPN will continue its commitment to regular telecasts of Conference men's basketball games on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU. A minimum of seven conference men's basketball games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, with a minimum of seven additional games on ESPNU. All nine institutions are guaranteed a minimum of one men's basketball exposure per year, and all of the WCC's appearances will be distributed across ESPN's wide range of mobile and online platforms.
The agreement will also feature expanded coverage of the Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championships. In addition to continuing coverage of the men's basketball championship game on ESPN and semifinals on ESPN2, both quarterfinal games will be televised live on ESPNU beginning in 2012.
"We are pleased that our institutions and student-athletes will be showcased on the ESPN networks for the next eight years," University of Portland President and WCC Presidents' Council Chair Father William Beauchamp said. "ESPN has played an important role in helping to build the West Coast Conference brand, and we are excited that this relationship will continue."
Including the men's basketball telecasts, the ESPN networks will air a total of five exposures across women's basketball/soccer/volleyball/baseball for each year of the agreement. The WCC will also have the right to re-air all of its ESPN telecasts on the official conference website.
The West Coast Conference has enjoyed unprecedented men's basketball success on the national scene in recent years. Over the last three seasons, WCC teams have combined for 15 postseason victories while at least half of the WCC teams have earned postseason berths in each of the last two years. Only eight Division I programs have won at least 25 games in each of the last four seasons. Three of those programs (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's) now reside in the West Coast Conference.
The West Coast Conference was founded in 1952 to provide a venue for five San Francisco Bay Area schools to compete in basketball. Three of the conference's current institutions - Saint Mary's College, University of San Francisco and Santa Clara University - have been in the West Coast Conference since the outset and both Loyola Marymount University and Pepperdine University have been members of the WCC since 1955. The WCC added Brigham Young University on September 1, 2010, marking the first time a full member had been invited since the 1970's after the University of Portland joined in 1976 and Gonzaga University and the University of San Diego joined in 1979.
About the West Coast Conference
The West Coast Conference was formed in 1952 and has evolved and grown to become a nationally recognized and competitive force in Division I intercollegiate athletics, with 13 conference-sponsored sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. The WCC is characterized by the stability of its membership and its unique emphasis on combining excellence in athletics with excellence in academics.