Feb. 2, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - The Horizon League and ESPN have announced a multi-year agreement through 2013 for continued coverage of League basketball on the ESPN family of networks.  

The announcement was made by Burke Magnus, senior vice president of college sports programming for ESPN, and Horizon League Commissioner Jonathan B. LeCrone, and makes ESPN the exclusive national cable home for Horizon League men's basketball events.  

The new pact includes distribution rights for Horizon League programming across multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPNU.com, ESPN360.com, ESPN Pay-Per-View, ESPN Video-on-Demand, ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD, ESPN Deportes and more.

"We are excited to extend our exclusive agreement with the Horizon League and to add more coverage to our schedule," said Magnus.  "With this agreement, college sports fans will continue to see the quality and depth of the Horizon League in more ways than ever before."

Over the three-year deal, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com will provide coverage of a minimum of 60 Horizon League events, including men's basketball regular-season games and selected rounds of the League's men's and women's basketball championships.

Coverage of at least seven regular-season basketball games as well as the men's basketball championship semifinals and the women's basketball championship game each year of the contract on ESPNU.

A minimum of four regular-season men's basketball appearances annually on ESPN or ESPN2, plus the men's basketball championship game during "Championship Week."

Annual coverage of seven men's basketball games exclusive to ESPN360.com, ESPN's live broadband sports network, as well as simulcasts of additional ESPN Full Court games.

Continued participation by all 10 Horizon League teams in the annual BracketBusters event.

"We are extremely pleased to extend our agreement with ESPN, which has been a long-time partner with the Horizon League," said LeCrone.  "This extension recognizes the growth of our League and also takes advantage of new and emerging technologies while taking into account the fluid distribution-marketplace of today's media world."

The ESPN agreement is part of the Horizon League's comprehensive approach to content distribution.  In addition to ESPN's platforms, the League's television distribution currently includes the new eight-game Horizon League Network Game of the Week men's basketball syndicated series, free video streaming of more than 400 live events -- including more than 250 basketball games -- on HorizonLeagueNetwork.tv, and more than 70 locally televised games.


Horizon League

Comprised of 10 public and private institutions of higher learning, the Horizon League is an NCAA Division I athletics conference that sponsors 19 intercollegiate championships and is headquartered in Indianapolis.  The League and its member institutions aspire to teach young people, through athletic competition, the value of learning, service to others and personal responsibility.  

Member institutions of the Horizon League are Butler University (Indianapolis), Cleveland State University, the University of Detroit Mercy, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Valparaiso (Ind.) University, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio) and Youngstown (Ohio) State University.

Horizon League teams have enjoyed national success in a variety of sports in recent years, most notably in men's basketball, in which its teams have advanced to the Regional semi-finals of the NCAA Championship three times in the past seven seasons.



ESPN, Inc. is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets.  The company is comprised of six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPNU HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (46 networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN PPV, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360.com (Broadband), ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN on Demand and ESPN Interactive.  Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.  The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.



ESPNU launched March 4, 2005.  The 24-hour college sports television network televises more than 550 live events annually, including college football, college basketball and Olympic sports from more than 25 Division I conferences, as well as premier high school content.  The network also has a wide-ranging, long-term agreement with the NCAA for enhanced coverage of 22 NCAA Championships.

ESPNU also offers comprehensive studio programming, including live simulcasts of ESPN Radio's The Herd with Colin Cowherd, and replays the best games of the week from ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Regional Television.  The brand is also available in high definition on ESPNU HD and online at ESPNU.com.  In addition, ESPNU Campus Connection, a multi-platform student-generated content initiative, was introduced in August 2007.

ESPNU is available in more than 65 million households and has long-term carriage agreements with nine of the top 10 providers - Charter, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV (Channel 614), DISH Network (Channel 148), Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS TV and AT&T U-verse.



ESPN360.com is ESPN's live sports broadband network, giving fans a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,500 live, global sports events annually.  It is available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider.  ESPN360.com is currently available in more than 50 million homes - two-thirds of U.S. broadband homes.  It is available via dozens of Internet Service Providers of all sizes nationwide, including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Charter, Windstream, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and many more.  It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.