The Mid-American Conference has agreed to a new 13-year contract with ESPN, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The agreement gives the network all television distribution rights to the league’s football games through the 2026-27 season.
The person spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the deal was still being completed and did not reveal financial details.
The MAC has three years left on its current eight-year deal with ESPN that pays the conference about $1 million per year.
The person says the new deal reworks the final years of the old contract. The new agreement also gives ESPN rights to some MAC men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports.
A formal announcement is expected Tuesday.
The Mid-American Conference has found a niche on TV with late-season weeknight football games on ESPN.
The MAC’s often high-scoring Tuesday and Wednesday night games in November have built almost a cult following and even given birth to the Twitter hashtag #MACtion. The unusual time slot gives the conference a chance to showcase its big games and best teams when there are usually no other college football games vying for air time.
This season the MAC will play two games each Tuesday throughout November and two games each of the first three Wednesday’s of that month. Each of those games will be televised on ESPN2 or ESPNU.
No state school or university should be limited to a **** cable station. We the public support them with our tax money and then have to pay monthly excorbent cable bills to wath them play a sport. Not all of us seniors can afford to pay that high monthly cable bills.I no longer support and school that will not allow their games to be broadcast on the free network. When cable first came out it advertised commercial free, now you pay a high monthly fee just to watch the commercials and little programming.