MACON, Ga. – The Atlantic Sun is one of 15 college conferences to have its own branded destination on WatchESPN, the network announced today.
ESPN today launches more than a dozen college conference channels on WatchESPN, aggregating conference-related programming from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPNEWS. A total of 15 branded destinations can now be streamed on televisions through WatchESPN via Apple TV and Roku, delivering live men’s and women’s college basketball events from across ESPN networks in time for Championship Week as well as replays of college football games.
The A-Sun joins the following conferences with channels at launch today: ACC, America East, Big South, Big West, HBCUs (Mid-Eastern Athletic, Southwestern Athletic and Central Intercollegiate Athletic) Horizon, Mid-American, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Southern, Sun Belt and Southland.
“We are extremely proud to continue our relationship with ESPN through the development of the conference-branded channels and campus-produced content,” said A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart. “With the A-Sun branded channel, we build on an ever-expanding presence for our schools, our teams, and our student-athletes as fans can access A-Sun events in more ways than we even imagined just six or seven years ago.
“This is a logical next step and a fantastic leap at the same time. The technology is really hard to believe, and we look forward to continued growth in our relationship with ESPN. I also want to extend special thanks to all our campus partners who are producing television quality content to share with our fans and to all the team at ESPN who continue to allow the A-Sun to be a leader in innovation surrounding content production and distribution.”
“With the rapid adoption of connected devices and the rising popularity of WatchESPN, we are able to offer college conferences the opportunity to have their own branded destinations for live events and on-demand video on a nationwide level,” said Damon Phillips, Vice President, WatchESPN & ESPN3. “ESPN provides scale and discoverability to deliver these channels in a way that would not have been possible without WatchESPN.”
“These new conference channels on WatchESPN will showcase the breadth and depth of our college sports coverage,” said Rosalyn Durant, Vice President, College Sports Programming, ESPN. “But most importantly, it allows us to better serve the fans.”
In its second year of providing original content for ESPN3, the A-Sun continues to expand its growing schedule of events. Lipscomb and USC Upstate are in their second year of production and recently Upstate became a trailblazer in the conference’s flourishing campus production initiative as it is the first to expand its coverage capabilities to outdoor events. Kennesaw State University and Florida Gulf Coast University are midway through their first year, and Mercer University will produce its first live ESPN3 event tonight.
With this year’s expanded schedule also to include baseball and softball, a total of 152 regular season and championship events featuring A-Sun teams will have been available or are scheduled to appear on ESPN networks by the end of May 2014.
As the A-Sun’s relationship with ESPN continues to flourish, particularly with the conference’s role as a leader in on-campus productions, this season’s total is a significant increase from the 22 productions the A-Sun provided via its ESPN3 on-campus initiative last season. The A-Sun was the first to adopt the conference-wide on-campus production model, and the commitment to the initiative has resulted in a 300 percent increase in television-caliber live productions since 2011.
Later this year, the channels on WatchESPN will include live college football, Olympic event and non-event (news, highlights, analysis and feature) programming plus on-demand video clips from ESPN.com. They will also be accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and other connected devices via WatchESPN at a later date.
ESPN is slated to deliver a total of more than 2,000 live men’s and women’s college basketball games through Championship Week in the 2013-14 season across its networks – all of which are accessible on WatchESPN. Specifically, ESPN3 – ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network – will deliver 570 exclusive men’s and women’s college basketball games this season, up 50 percent compared to the previous year.
Launched in April 2011, WatchESPN delivers live access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line on computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox, Apple TV and Roku. It is currently accessible in 55 million households nationwide to fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription from AT&T U-verse® TV, Bright House Networks, Cablevision’s Optimum TV, Charter, Comcast Xfinity TV, Cox, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications, Time Warner Cable, or Verizon FiOS TV (coming soon to NRTC members’ customers). WatchESPN also delivers on-demand video clips from ESPN.com accessible to all users on select platforms.