MVC Unveils ESPN Basketball Package
Editor: The following is part of a press release from mvc-sports.com.
(St. Louis, MO) – Celebrating its 111th season, the Missouri Valley Conference will have an exclusive 104-event package on ESPN networks during the 2017-18 academic year, Commissioner Doug Elgin announced Tuesday.
The Valley, which enters the fourth year of a 10-year agreement with ESPN, will clear 41 men’s basketball telecasts on ESPN platforms — ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and SEC Network.
Another 63 MVC events — regular-season baseball and women’s basketball plus postseason championships for cross country, women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, indoor and outdoor track and field, women’s basketball, softball and baseball — are featured in the package this year.
An additional 550 live events by Conference institutions will be delivered exclusively by The Valley on ESPN3 — the league’s co-branded digital network with ESPN.
“Our relationship with ESPN is central to our success as a league,” Elgin said.
“The tremendous growth in exposure from the many live events we have on the network’s linear and digital platforms has provided a boost to the teams and student-athletes in every one of our athletic programs.”
The ESPN men’s basketball package features Northern Iowa opening the season at defending national champion North Carolina on Nov. 10 in an ESPNU contest. Evansville visits Duke on Dec. 20 for an ESPN2 game.
The Valley has three regular-season appearances on the SEC Network, as Loyola plays at Florida on Dec. 6 while Illinois State and Bradley visit Mississippi on Dec. 16 and 22, respectively.
Games from the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge will be shown on ESPN3, including Missouri State hosting Colorado State on Nov. 28 and UNI entertaining UNLV on Nov. 29.
Missouri State coach Paul Lusk says the Valley’s various television packages are a huge plus for his team and for the entire league.
This will be the third year of a four-year agreement between the leagues, with Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State and Loyola securing wins during the 2016 event.
Two MVC schools will compete in ESPN Events-branded multi-team tournaments — Illinois State in the Tire Pros Puerto Rico Tip-Off which has been relocated to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Indiana State in the Gildan Charleston Classic.
UNI will also participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Each league school will participate in three games with every contest being delivered on an ESPN platform — ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3.
In terms of league regular-season men’s basketball shows, The Valley has three contests on ESPN2 — new MVC member Valparaiso at UNI (Jan. 13), Valparaiso at Illinois State (Jan. 27) and UNI at Illinois State (Feb. 17).
For the final Conference’s exposure on Saturday, Feb. 24, ESPN will utilize the Wildcard selection process (picking one of five games) to determine which match-up is shown.
The Valley’s regular-season men’s basketball package on ESPNU will feature one Saturday and five Sundays. For two of the Sundays, ESPN will utilize the netflex selection process (one game appearing on The Valley on ESPN3 and the other on ESPNU), while on another, ESPN will use the Wildcard process to select from two games.
“The continued use of the Wildcard selection process permits ESPN to evaluate in-season performance to determine the best game possible for airing,” said Jack R. Watkins, Associate Commissioner. “Based on ESPN’s track record, we have no doubt about the success of this selection method.”
The remaining two ESPNU telecasts will be Valley regular-season baseball contests which have yet to be determined.
With host institutions providing the production and transmission, the league has also selected men’s and women’s basketball packages for distribution on ESPN3 — ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and streaming devices through the ESPN App to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated provider.
The men’s basketball package starts on Wednesday, Jan. 3, with Southern Illinois playing host to Evansville.
The opening round on March 1 and all four quarterfinal games on March 2 from the 2018 State Farm MVC Men’s Basketball Tournament in St. Louis will also be shown on ESPN3 outside the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.