IRVING, Texas - Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced today that the conference has reached a new multi-year agreement for national television rights with Fox Sports Media Group, beginning with the 2011 football season through the 2015-16 athletic year.
FOX Sports Networks (FSN) will provide a variety of marquee C-USA events, including football, men's and women's basketball, and other C-USA sponsored sports. This agreement, in conjunction with C-USA's extended partnership with CBS College Sports Network, will provide a significant increase in revenue, as well as the number of events distributed and the overall exposure for the conference.
According to terms of the agreement, FSN will showcase a minimum of 20 regular-season football games per season, a minimum of 10 regular-season men's and five women's basketball games, and a variety of Olympic sports events. The C-USA football championship game will also be carried on FSN, FX or the FOX Network. FSN programming is distributed nationally to more than 85 million homes through more than two dozen owned and affiliated regional sports networks.
Provisions of the new agreement also allow Fox to televise select Conference USA events on FOX Sports, which reaches over 115 million households nationwide, and on FX, FOX's flagship general entertainment cable network available in over 98 million homes.
"This is a huge step forward for our Conference and we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Fox," Banowsky said. "Our interests are aligned and we are very excited about the potential of this partnership."
"Both parties will reap the benefits of this agreement," said FOX Sports Networks President Randy Freer. "Not only can Fox provide extensive national TV exposure for the Conference through a variety of outlets, but we can also serve the Conference's member schools and local fans through our strong regional presence. An RSN like FOX Sports Houston is a natural fit to distribute Rice and Houston games, while SMU, UTEP, and Tulane are located in FOX Sports Southwest's footprint. We'll have tremendous programming opportunities to explore, especially with cross-over match-ups with our other conference rights."
The conference's footprint is concentrated in nine states with 12 member schools, including East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, SMU, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UCF and UTEP. That territory is served by nine Fox regional sports networks, including FOX Sports South, SportSouth, FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Tennessee, FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports Houston, FOX Sports Oklahoma, FOX Sports Florida, and Sun Sports.
With the addition of Conference USA, Fox Sports Media Group now boasts the most comprehensive portfolio of college product in the country, with nearly 2,000 premier events showcased through national and regional platforms, including FOX Sports, FSN, the Big Ten Network and FOX College Sports. Conference USA joins Fox's impressive roster of collegiate conference partners that includes the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12, ACC and SEC.
ABOUT CONFERENCE USA TELEVISION
Conference USA strives toward maximizing exposure for its member schools and their athletic programs. By partnering with Fox Sports Media Group and extending an existing partnership with CBS College Sports Network, the league has substantially increased its revenue and increased the number of national and regional appearances. Conference USA will also launch the C-USA Digital Network, providing additional web-based streaming of events and feature programming.
ABOUT FOX SPORTS MEDIA GROUP
FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) is the umbrella entity representing News Corporation's wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands that are capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FSMG includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FSMG now includes FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; Fox's 19 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; SPEED and SPEED2; Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus; FUEL TV; and Fox College Sports. In addition, FSMG also includes FOX Sports Interactive Media, which comprises FOXSports.com on MSN, whatifsports.com and scout.com, reaching over 20 million unique visitors monthly. Also included are Fox's interests in joint-venture businesses FOX Deportes, Big Ten Network and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network, FOX Sports Skybox restaurants and FOX Sports Grills.
ABOUT FOX SPORTS NET (FSN)
FSN is the nation's leading provider of local sports. Through its 19 owned-and-operated regional networks, FSN serves as the TV home to more than half of all MLB, NHL, and NBA teams. FSN's nationwide roster of regional sports networks includes FOX Sports Arizona, FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Detroit, FOX Sports Florida, FOX Sports Houston, FOX Sports Indiana, FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports North, FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports Oklahoma, FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Southwest, FOX Sports Tennessee, FOX Sports West, FOX Sports Wisconsin, PRIME Ticket, SportSouth, and Sun Sports. FSN produces over 5,000 live local events each year, including more than 3,200 in high definition, making FSN the most prolific producers of HD Sports programming in the country. In addition to its thousands of home team games and a wide variety of locally produced sports programs, FSN televises national collegiate sports events and programs, including football and basketball from the Pac-10, Conference USA, SEC, and ACC, as well as Big 12 football.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING IN C-USA ABOUT NEW FOX TELEVISION AGREEMENT
University of Houston Athletics Director Mack Rhoades
"We are excited about this partnership with Fox Sports and truly appreciate Commissioner Banowsky's leadership throughout the process as he and the conference office strategically looked to increase both exposure and revenue for Conference USA. This new partnership accomplishes both. The University of Houston has seen its number of television games rise dramatically in the past few years and that has resulted advantages in recruiting, facilities and overall resources for our student-athletes. In the future, we look forward to continuing to increase our exposure for our great fans. We also thank ESPN for the terrific relationship the University of Houston has enjoyed with them over the years."
Mike Hamrick, Marshall University Athletics Director
"You have to be pleased when your TV partner significantly increases the exposure (triples) and revenue (doubles) of your program," Hamrick said. "We have an outstanding overall multi-media agreement when you look at the Fox and CBS College Sports components as a whole."
Marshall Men's Basketball Coach Tom Herrion
"We are very excited to partner with Fox. This is a great opportunity for our league to increase our brand recognition and this is also very exciting for our fans and alumni."
R.C. Johnson, University of Memphis Athletics Director
"The University of Memphis athletic department and staff is obviously very excited about Conference USA's new affiliation with Fox Sports. The contract offers the league a larger financial commitment and given the economic challenges we all face, revenue becomes a major factor. We are always interested in gaining additional exposure for our athletic teams, as well. The new agreement with Fox will certainly increase the conference's footprint across the nation."
Rick Greenspan, Rice University Athletics Director
"FOX Sports will be a great partner for Conference USA and Rice University. Their willingness to significantly enhance our rights fees as well as increase the number of televised events represents a win-win situation for us. Greater exposure for our football and basketball games as well as additional appearances for women's basketball and Olympic Sports are some of the key elements of this new agreement which gives our alumni and fans more frequent opportunities to follow the Owls and for our great student-athletes a chance to showcase their skills to a bigger audience. Our fans already have a relationship with Fox Sports thanks to the debut of "Owls Insider" last fall and this only further strengthens that connection. I commend Commissioner Banowsky for his creative and entrepreneurial spirit which helped make this agreement a reality."
Steve Orsini, SMU Director of Athletics
"We are excited about our new C-USA TV partnership with FOX Sports Networks. The networks reach more than 80 million homes nationwide, and with the airing of nearly three times as many events, our level of exposure will increase dramatically, while also providing a substantial revenue increase for the Mustangs' sport programs. These things take all of us in C-USA to the next level."
June Jones, SMU Football Coach
"FOX has great regional and national footprints and this will only increase the exposure of Mustang Athletics. It's a credit to the league office, presidents, athletic directors and others who had a big part in this TV deal. We're continuing to grow as a program and as a league and this is just another step in the right direction."
Richard Giannini, Southern Miss Athletics Director
"We are elated with the new Fox TV agreement which provides such a significant increase in revenue for C-USA. It includes many more televised events and in football, the majority of the games will be played and aired on Saturday's with a few Thursday night games. This is an extremely positive situation for C-USA and it member institutions."
Southern Miss Head Football Coach Larry Fedora
"Our football program is extremely excited about being showcased on Fox Television for the next five years. I know the Golden Eagle fans will welcome the opportunity to watch their team on more traditional football game days."
UCF Director of Athletics Keith Tribble
"For Conference USA to be in a position to increase its national exposure, as well as individual broadcast opportunities for its schools, in this next television agreement is a tremendous outcome for our league. Conference USA is moving in a very positive direction with Fox Sports and we're very pleased to have this opportunity to showcase our athletics program on their family of networks."
Donnie Jones, UCF Men's Basketball Head Coach
"We are very excited about the new partnership with Fox Sports. The exposure that our program will receive in Florida on Fox Sports Florida and Sun Sports, and throughout the country as well, is invaluable. The partnership not only helps with recruiting, but allows UCF's fans and alumni more opportunities to follow the Knights."