Colonial Athletic Association Inks Deal with NBC Sports Group
February 14, 2012
The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) has announced a five-year deal with the NBC Sports Group that will increase national exposure for its basketball and football programs.
“We are extremely excited about this opportunity,” CAA commissioner Tom Yeager said. “I think it’s going to give our programs much-needed recognition.”
CAA is a NCAA Division I college athletic conference whose full-time members are located in East Coast states from Massachusetts to Georgia.
NBC will televise nationally CAA men’s basketball and football games, and provide regional coverage of men’s and women’s basketball and football through Comcast SportsNet regional networks. The broadcaster also will cover other conference sports through NBCSports.com.
Yeager declined to reveal financial terms of the agreement, except to say that it is a “significantly enhanced position” over its present agreement with ESPN, which will expire at the end of the basketball season.
The CAA is the first college conference to enter into an agreement with the reconfigured NBC Sports Group. The group includes NBC Sports Network, a 24/7 cable channel devoted to sports programming that was formerly the Versus Network. It’s presently in 75 million homes.
Comcast is the parent company of NBC and has been broadcast partners with the CAA for nearly 30 years, dating back to its days as Home Team Sports.
Among the highlights of the deal: a minimum of 12 national telecasts of CAA men’s basketball games, including coverage of the CAA tournament semifinals and final. Currently, only the CAA men’s tournament final is broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Comcast will regionally broadcast 39 additional men’s and women’s basketball games, including the quarterfinals of the CAA men’s tournament and the semifinals and final of the women’s tournament.
NBC will televise nationally at least five CAA football games. Comcast will televise another 13 CAA regular-season football games regionally.
NBCSports.com also creates new digital media opportunities, in the area of live-streaming of games and events.
Yeager said that it’s too soon to say if the new TV deal will impact the men’s basketball tournament schedule. The event is traditionally held at the Richmond Coliseum the first weekend in March, with a Monday night championship game.
He said that conference athletic directors will begin to discuss that, along with TV executives, when everyone meets next month at the tournament.
Though the CAA’s deal with ESPN will conclude, Yeager said the network will still include conference teams in its annual BracketBusters package, as well as occasional early-season tournament appearances.
by Ismail Uddin