NCAA and ESPN agree to a $920 million, 8-year deal for women’s March Madness, 39 other championships

Dallas, TX - The 2023 Final Four. Photo © Hoopfeed, all rights reserved.
Dallas, TX – The 2023 Final Four. Photo © Hoopfeed, all rights reserved.

The NCAA and ESPN sealed a $920 million, eight-year partnership that will give the sports network exclusive domestic rights to the Division I women’s basketball tournament and 39 other championships. For years, fans and media have criticized the sports body for being in a partnership with ESPN that undervalued the women’s tournament.

“The NCAA has worked in earnest over the past year to ensure that this new broadcast agreement provides the best possible outcome for all NCAA championships, and in particular women’s championships,” Charlie Baker, NCAA president, said. “Over the past several years, ESPN has demonstrated increased investment in NCAA championship coverage, and the Association is pleased to continue to provide a platform for student-athletes to shine. Having one, multi-platform home to showcase our championships provides additional growth potential along with a greater experience for the viewer and our student-athletes.”

For the first time in 2024, the NCAA will host a secondary women’s basketball championship which will also be broadcasted by ESPN, the Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT).

In addition to the women’s DI basketball tournament, the deal also includes the following women’s sports:  soccer, field hockey, volleyball (including DII and DIII), cross country, indoor track & field, swimming & diving, basketball (including DII and DIII), ice hockey, bowling, gymnastics, fencing, beach volleyball, lacrosse, outdoor track & field, tennis, softball, and water polo.

Other highlights of the deal:

  • Expanded coverage DII and DIII football, men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball.
  • International rights to all NCAA Championships
  • Over 800 hours of NCAA Championships on ESPN linear networks annually.
  • More than 2,300 total hours of NCAA Championships on ESPN linear and digital platforms each year.

ESPN platforms include ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, and ESPN+.

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