ESPN Signs 10-Year Media-Rights Deal With Ivy League
ESPN signed a 10-year media rights deal with the Ivy League, with plans to carry every football and men’s and women’s basketball game starting in the fall. Most of the games will be on ESPN’s soon-to-launch OTT platform, ESPN+. One of ESPN’s linear TV channels will carry at least 24 games per year, including six football games (including the Harvard-Yale game), six regular season men’s basketball games, the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and the men’s lacrosse tournament semifinals and finals. Eight other conference postseason events also will be carried on linear TV. The deal is structured in a similar way to ESPN’s recent Sun Belt conference deal, which essentially was an ESPN+ deal with some linear elements. These deals underscore ESPN’s strategy of moving its rights deals with non-Power Five conferences to its OTT platform. ESPN Senior Dir of Programming & Acquisitions Dan Margulis and Ivy League Exec Dir Robin Harris led negotiations on the Ivy League deal, the financial details of which are not known. A formal announcement is expected at some point this afternoon. All told, the new deal will make 1,100 events from 30 sports available every year as part of ESPN+’s $4.99 monthly subscription. Previously, the majority of these games were on the Ivy League digital network, which cost around $10 per month. The Ivy League digital network no longer will exist once this deal goes into effect. ESPN has had a three-decade long relationship with the conference. For the last three seasons, ESPN3 streamed around 85 events per year. NBC carried Ivy league football for the last 10 years, mainly on NBCSN, though the Harvard-Yale game was on CNBC for the last two years.