Everyone loves #MACtion.

Thanks to some creative scheduling, the Mid American Conference has broken through the ranks of the have-nots in FBS college football.  If you’re not a part of the powers that be in the sport, it can be very tough to find relevancy.  However, thanks to their primetime games early in the week, the MAC has been able to gain what amounts to an exclusive broadcast window for themselves on ESPN.

The traditionally high scoring, competitive games have been great theater for hardcore football fans as the MAC continues to deliver more bang for their buck than almost any other league.  The MAC has grown into a consistent national presence thanks to the platform given to them by ESPN.

So it only makes sense that the MAC and ESPN would continue what has been a fruitful relationship.  The new contract between the pair extends to the 2026-2027 season.

Here’s details from the ESPN announcement…

ESPN and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) have announced an extension of their exclusive rights agreement that will deliver record coverage of the conference across multiple ESPN platforms through 2026-27. Highlights of the 13-year pact:

  • ESPN, the MAC and its 12 member institutions working jointly to develop in-house production capabilities that will provide significant national coverage for MAC sports on ESPN3. As a result, ESPN3 will showcase a minimum of 420 events a year (a minimum of 120 men’s basketball) once all 12 institutions have launched a production program.
  • Every MAC-controlled football matchup will be available on one of ESPN’s national networks or via an ESPN sublicense agreement with additional outlets. The football schedule will continue to feature regular Thursday, Friday and Saturday games, select Tuesday and Wednesday prime time matchups, and an annual “MACsgiving” contest on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
  • ESPN will continue to provide multi-platform coverage of regular-season men’s basketball and the conference championship.

“This extension, and expansion, of our agreement significantly increases the live event coverage for fans while providing tremendous value to ESPN, the MAC and its member institutions,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, programming & acquisitions.

MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher added, “This is a historic day for the Mid-American Conference. ESPN and the MAC have a long history together and were visionary in embracing mid-week football which continues to be a significant presence on the ESPN college football calendar. The length of this partnership brings long term stability for the Conference well into the next decade.”

With the comprehensive deal, ESPN will receive rights to distribute MAC content across multiple entities, including: ESPN, ESPN on ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN3, WatchESPN, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN International, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic and ESPN.com.

This is excellent news for any fans of the MAC and the mid-week football that has been transformational in giving the conference a national presence.

In the bigger picture, it’s also encouraging news for the have-nots in FBS college football.  With the new autonomy rules and the Power 5 conferences now ruling the sport with an iron fist, the gap between the social classes in college football will only continue to grow.  That gap increasing is sad news for anyone who has been a fan of the increased parity in college football in recent years.  However, this new contract with ESPN spanning over the next decade at least ensures a stable future for the MAC and inspires hope that maybe that gap won’t be as great as we fear.


Comments are closed.