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BYU Announces New ESPN, Bowl Game Agreements

Jan 30, 2020, 10:59 AM | Updated: 8:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Brigham Young University announced a new media rights agreement for home football games with ESPN on Thursday morning.

The home game television rights agreement is a seven-year deal that runs through 2026.

On top of that BYU and ESPN Events agreed on a bowl agreement for the Cougars to participate in an ESPN owned bowl in 2020, 2022 and 2024.

A separate agreement puts BYU in the Independence Bowl in Lousiana in 2021, 2023 and 2025.

“We have been fortunate to have an amazing relationship with ESPN for decades,” said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. “There is great collaboration because the relationship is truly a partnership and continues to get stronger every year. We are very grateful for all that ESPN does to support and promote BYU Athletics.”

New Media Rights Agreement Details

ESPN will nationally televise a minimin of four BYU home games each season while a minimum of three games will be on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  Additional games can air on ESPNU.

Part of the agreement allows at least one game per season to be carried live on BYUtv.

All games will be available to stream on the ESPN app.

“BYU is a key component of our extensive college football media rights portfolio and we are pleased to continue the relationship well into the future,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN Senior Vice President of Programming and Events.  “The new agreement will build upon our last nine seasons, as we collectively work together showcasing the Cougars to a national audience and their extensive fan base.”

Some of BYU’s home games over the next few seasons are already set to air on an ESPN Network including games against Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Stanford, Utah and more.

“Our goals in going independent in football included the opportunity to increase our national exposure and provide better access to our football program for our national fanbase,” Holmoe said. “We also wanted to schedule home-and-home games with many of the storied football programs in the country. Thanks to our relationship with ESPN, we have been able to accomplish these goals.”

History of BYU/ESPN Partnership

With ESPN holding BYU home game media rights, 74 percent of BYU’s games since 2011 have been nationally televised. That makes BYU 17th in the nation for nationally televised games.

The partnership was first established in 2010. BYU became the first FBS football program to sign an exclusive media rights agreement with ESPN.

The original agreement was an eight-year deal (2011-2018) with a one-year option to extend through 2019.

Bowl Agreement Details

For the years 2020, 2022 and 2024 the new bowl agreement provides a bowl tie-in for the Cougars if they are bowl eligible and not selected for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

The Independence Bowl (2021,2023,2025) will be against a Conference USA team in 2021 and 2025 and against a Pac-12 team in 2023. The Independence Bowl will be televised on an ESPN network.

As part of both bowl agreements, the Cougars have an option to potentially participate in the Cheez-It Bowl should its conference tie-ins (Big Ten and Big 12) be unable to provide an opponent. The Cheez-It Bowl also airs on an ESPN network.

Men’s Basketball Rights

On top of the football agreement, ESPN holds first-tier broadcast rights for BYU Men’s Basketball thanks to a recent eight-year deal with the West Coast Conference.

As part of a new deal that continues through the 2026-27 season, ESPN networks will broadcast 17 regular-season WCC games per year, along with the men’s quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game of the conference basketball tournament.

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BYU Announces New ESPN, Bowl Game Agreements