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ESPN and BCS agree four year deal

US broadcaster ESPN agreed a four year deal with the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) for the TV, radio, digital, international and marketing rights for 15 BCS games from 2011 to 2014.

Under the deal, ESPN will televise the Fiesta, Orange, Sugar Bowl and National Championship Game in primetime each January. In addition, when weekly BCS standings begin, they will be unveiled on ESPN each Sunday, although a show and time is yet to be agreed.

ESPN Radio, which has broadcast all BCS games since 2000, gains exclusive national radio rights for the length of the deal (2011-2014). ESPN Radio is in the midst of a sub-license agreement (expires in 2010) with current BCS rights holder Fox to broadcast the games. In addition, ESPN Deportes Radio has exclusive Spanish-language rights.

In addition, ESPN.com receives significant content rights, and will operate the official BCS website (bcsfootball.org), which features standings, updates, history, news and more. Games may also be simulcast online through ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature 24/7 broadband sports network; and on mobile devices through ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN’s first 24/7 channel for wireless.

George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc, said: “The BCS will thrive on ESPN. Our slogan is ‘College Football Lives Here’ and the BCS will now top college football’s best regular-season and studio coverage, the sport’s top awards shows, Bowl Week and other national championships all carried on our family of networks. This is a proud day for ESPN and an exceptional day for this great sport and its passionate fans.”

ESPN International will also distribute and televise the BCS matchups around the world through networks and syndication, including on the re-branded ESPN America (known as NASN until February 2009). In addition, ESPN has the right to televise BCS games on ESPN Deportes, the U.S. Spanish-language sports network.

The broadcaster has also secured the marketing rights to the BCS games, including the BCS National Championship Game. Among these rights will be the ability to sell bowl entitlements and title sponsorships.