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BREAKING: ESPN announces new deal with American Athletic Conference

Under Tilman Fertitta, UH Athletics has become one of the flagship programs of the American Athletic Conference. | Ahmed Gul/The Cougar

ESPN announced Wednesday that it had come to a deal with the American Athletic Conference to extend and improve its partnership through 2031-32.

“Since The American’s inception, the league and its members have competed at the highest level nationally, on and off the field,” said Vice President for Athletics, Chris Pezman. “The latest rights agreement with ESPN is a reflection of the accomplishments by our league’s institutions and will give our power conference even more exposure nationally.”

Pezman also said that the school is looking forward to showing off its teams on the national stage.

While the financial details of the partnership were not officially released, Sports Business Journal reported that the deal will be worth $1 billion over the time period, which amounts to about $7 million per school per year.

That figure is up about $5 million from the current figure of about $2 million that the University of Houston receives annually from the partnership.

“Our schools are committed to our Power 6 campaign and to providing our student-athletes with the highest level of competition. This agreement furthers these goals and allows us to continue our mutually-beneficial relationship with our valued media partner,” said the AAC commissioner Mike Aresco.

One important part of the deal is that team’s did not sign a grant of rights, according to Sports Business Journal, which means teams are still free to leave the conference for others such as the Big XII or Big 10.

The conference will have a minimum of 40 football games, 65 men’s basketball games and 13 women’s basketball games broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Twenty of those men’s basketball games must be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2.

The football conference championship game will also be broadcast on either ABC or ESPN each year, while the men’s basketball game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Burke Magnus, the ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling, said “On our television networks, The American will continue to be a significant and consistent component of our industry-leading college sports portfolio.”

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