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Executive Voice: SVP, College Sports Programming & Acquisitions Nick Dawson on ESPN’s new eight-year deal with NCAA

"This deal solidifies that ESPN is the home of college sports and will remain the continued home of college championships."

EDITOR’S NOTE: Nick Dawson was promoted to Senior Vice President, College Sports Programming and Acquisitions in June 2023. In his new role, Dawson now oversees ESPN’s entire college sports portfolio, including its NCAA, College Football Playoff and conference relationships, all college networks, and ESPN Events. Below, he discusses the news regarding ESPN’s latest extension of its decades-long partnership with the NCAA.

Nick Dawson
(Melissa Rawlins/ESPN Images)

We are thrilled to announce that ESPN and the NCAA have reached a new, eight-year agreement beginning Sept. 1, 2024, for NCAA championships media rights. This deal includes domestic rights to a record 40 NCAA championships – 21 women’s and 19 men’s events – and international rights to those same NCAA championships, plus the Division I men’s basketball tournament. As we look to expand our audience and reach younger fans, we are pleased to add even more compelling championship-level college sports content to our industry-leading coverage.

Our strong relationship with the NCAA began 45 years ago, in 1979, the year that ESPN launched. We are excited to continue building on our collective success, grow our streaming options for fans, and provide unprecedented exposure for student-athletes.

This deal also expands on our longstanding commitment to women’s sports. We are very proud of our decades-long commitment to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship and, more recently, NCAA Softball/WCWS, Women’s Gymnastics, and Women’s Volleyball, which have become signature events for our platforms and for sports fans.

(Illustration: Bill Hofheimer)

A few additional things to know about this agreement:

  • It continues exclusive coverage of sports included in the previous ESPN agreement – including all rounds of marquee NCAA Championship events (women’s basketball, softball, volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, FCS football, and more).
  • It adds coverage of the Division I men’s and women’s tennis team championships and the national collegiate men’s gymnastics championship, as well as Division II and III basketball and volleyball championships.
  • It also includes full rights for the men’s National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT), as well as international rights for the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
  • In total, it delivers more than 2,300 hours of NCAA championship events across our platforms each year.

NCAA championships will continue to benefit from the broad portfolio of ESPN platforms which includes broadcast and cable networks – ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ACC Network, SEC Network, as well as ESPN+ and our leading studio, digital and social platforms. During the 2022-23 academic year, ESPN carried 27,600 collegiate sports events (an average of nearly 90 per day).

This deal solidifies that ESPN is the home of college sports and will remain the continued home of college championships.

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