The Mid-American Conference has agreed to a new 13-year contract with ESPN, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The agreement gives the network all television distribution rights to the league’s football games through the 2026-27 season.
The person spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the deal was still being completed and did not reveal financial details.
The MAC has three years left on its current eight-year deal with ESPN that pays the conference about $1 million per year.
The person says the new deal reworks the final years of the old contract. The new agreement also gives ESPN rights to some MAC men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports.
The MAC and ESPN said in a news release later Monday that they planned to make a major announcement on Tuesday, but gave no details.
The Mid-American Conference has found a niche on TV with late-season weeknight football games on ESPN.
The MAC’s often high-scoring Tuesday and Wednesday night games in November have built almost a cult following and even given birth to the Twitter hashtag #MACtion. The unusual time slot gives the conference a chance to showcase its big games and best teams when there are usually no other college football games vying for air time.
This season the MAC will play two games each Tuesday throughout November and two games each of the first three Wednesday’s of that month. Each of those games will be televised on ESPN2 or ESPNU.
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