This week, the Atlantic 10 announced the continuation of its TV deals with both ESPN and CBS. The new deals will run through the end of the 2023-24 season, and coverage will look similar to what we’ve seen in recent years. Financial terms were not disclosed.
On ESPN, the A-10 will have 28 men’s basketball games per season, four women’s games, and the women’s championship. A bulk of the content on ESPN’s deal will be for ESPN+, with an average of 188 men’s games and 196 women’s games airing behind the paywall.
ESPN also has the A-10 championship game, but will continue sublicensing the game to CBS.
CBS Sports Network will air 76 total games per season, 56 of which are expected to be men’s games. In addition to the championship game on CBS, the semifinals will air on CBS Sports Network.
Could the A-10 have done better? Probably not. Getting guaranteed airtime on ESPN is huge, especially given the sheer amount of college basketball on the schedule every winter. The inclusion of hundreds of games on ESPN+ also helps mitigate lingering questions from fans about where games will air. As for CBS Sports Network, it obviously doesn’t have the reach of ESPN. But the A-10 will be one of the network’s primary focuses during the college basketball season since it lacks some of the bigger conference rights than ESPN and Fox have, and that brings its own set of advantages.
All in all, this isn’t a bad thing for the conference or its fans, especially since the future of some sports rights are being questioned as the pandemic and its associated financial difficulties continue to linger on. The A-10 has its TV deals locked in, and won’t have to worry about a lame duck season starting next week and an uncertain future for its game broadcasts.