ESPN and Raycom/JP Reach 10 Year Agreement for ACC Basketball


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ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to televise a minimum of 23 men's ACC games annually.

GREENSBORO, NC -- ESPN, Inc. and Raycom/Jefferson Pilot have entered into a new 10-year ACC basketball agreement which begins with the 2001-2002 season and incorporates ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN.com, ESPN Classic, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the ACC Tournament and for the first time, ABC Sports. It was announced by John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president, programming.
Highlights of the agreement include:



· ESPN, Inc. will have weeknight national exclusivity (with games on ESPN and ESPN2) for ACC men's basketball and preferential selection position for games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports.


· ESPN/ESPN2: The two networks will combine to televise a minimum of 23 men's games annually, similar to previous years. A new element for ESPN2, which recently crossed the 70 million household mark faster than any other network in cable history, will be an exclusive national weeknight package of ACC matchups.


· ABC Sports: ACC teams will appear in 10 games annually on ABC Sports.


· ESPN.com: ESPN will offer expanded coverage of ACC action online.


· ESPN Classic: ESPN Classic will have access to ACC archives for network shows, including extensive specialty programming when the ACC celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2003.


· ACC/Big Ten Challenge: The agreement calls for the ACC's continued commitment to this annual event, organized and televised by ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Regional Television.


· Women's Games: ACC teams will appear in eight games per season, including at least two intraconference games annually.


· ACC Tournament: Exclusive rights to the 8 vs. 9 game in the ACC Tournament and out-of-market rights to all other Tournament games (same as current agreement).


· Duke/North Carolina: Out-of-market rights to the first regular-season matchup between these two teams each year as well as exclusive rights to the second matchup (ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC Sports) for six of the 10 years.


. Raycom/Jefferson Pilot holds all television, marketing and licensing rights for the Atlantic Coast Conference.


"This agreement greatly expands the ACC's presence on all ESPN entities, helping to enhance our position as the leader in college basketball," said Wildhack. "It ensures we will have the conference's best games for the next decade. Its wide-ranging components bring great value to all involved - ESPN, Inc., ABC Sports, fans, advertisers, affiliates and the conference."


ACC Commissioner John Swofford added: "We are extremely pleased that Raycom/Jefferson Pilot has been able to reach a long-term agreement with ESPN. This agreement benefits not only our institutions, but also our fans, and will continue our successful relationship with ESPN and will ensure maximum coverage of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball."

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