SBJ/June 18 - 24, 2001/This Weeks Issue

ESPN, Monarch packaging C-USA sports events for syndication sales

Conference USA has reached an agreement with ESPN Regional and Monarch Productions to produce and syndicate an 18-event package of games for the newly created Conference USA Television Network.

Under the agreement, ESPN and Monarch will jointly produce the games while Monarch, in conjunction with conference officials, will be responsible for syndication.

The 2001-02 network package includes 13 conference women's basketball games and five championship events in such sports as soccer, volleyball, baseball and softball. Conference officials are completing a schedule for the live telecasts.

Once the schedule is complete, Monarch and C-USA officials will send it to network and cable affiliates in member institutions' markets and outside markets, said John McNamara, an associate commissioner for C-USA.

Conference officials hope that having a package of events will make it easier to get multiple clearances on network affiliates, McNamara said. In addition to covering production costs of the games, the conference is giving 50 percent of available advertising inventory to networks that carry its games.

The remaining ad inventory will be used to promote the conference and its members or rolled into the conference's corporate marketing packages, McNamara said.

The main objective is to increase exposure for the conference and its sports, McNamara said. Conference officials have budgeted the television network to be a conference expense in its first year but are optimistic that they will break even and perhaps turn a profit on the network in two to three years. McNamara wouldn't disclose financial figures.

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Colleges, ESPN

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