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Big West Inks Five-Year Broadcast Agreement With ESPN; New Deal Includes Games on ESPNU

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Commissioner Dennis Farrell announced today that the Big West Conference and ESPN have signed a new, expanded five-year agreement that includes a minimum of 12 annual national telecasts of men's basketball games and other Big West events primarily on ESPNU and ESPN2.

"The Big West is excited to enhance its visibility with our television partner ESPN," said Farrell, who led the negotiation of the new agreement replacing the conference's current arrangement.  "The deal further promotes the Big West on the ESPN family of networks and is a tribute to our long standing relationship."

"We are thrilled to expand our 20-year relationship with the Big West to include increased coverage of the conference on ESPNU," said Rosalyn Durant, vice president and general manager, ESPNU.  "This agreement illustrates our continued commitment to showcasing a diverse array of college sports content from around the nation."

The agreement, which runs through the 2012-13 season, includes:
    • A minimum of five annual men's regular season conference basketball games, including four on ESPNU and one on ESPN2;       

    • The men's basketball tournament semifinals at the Anaheim Convention Center annually on ESPNU;

    • The men's basketball tournament championship game at the Anaheim Convention Center annually on ESPN2;

    • At least four additional Olympic sport events on ESPNU.

The Big West will earn additional exposure on ESPN through its involvement with the 76 CLASSIC, the annual eight-team Thanksgiving men's basketball tournament hosted by the conference at the Anaheim Convention Center in 2008.  The 12-game, three-day event includes three appearances for the Big West representative on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Additional ESPN exposures are potentially available on ESPNU Bracket Busters, a two-day men's basketball extravaganza pitting NCAA Tournament hopefuls from 17 NCAA Division I conferences against one another.  Twenty-six schools will be selected, largely based on their RPI at the end of January, to compete in 13 televised games on either ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN360.com.  All nine Big West schools are included in the pool of 102 teams.
The league's initial partnership with ESPN began in 1987-88, the same year the Pacific Coast Athletic Association became known as the Big West Conference.