BYU, ESPN extend contracts through 2026 season

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A seven-year media agreement between BYU and ESPN was announced on Jan. 30. This agreement encompasses broadcasting home football games, men’s basketball game and bowl games for the next seven years.

BYU signed the first unique media rights contract with ESPN out of any FBS program 10 years ago. This allowed BYU games to be broadcast on ABC and various ESPN channels and streamed on the ESPN app. The new deal will also allow BYUtv to broadcast one football game per year.

BYU hasn’t had a shortage of Power Five matchups since becoming independent. They have played at least one team from each Power Five conference and will continue to do so. Some of these teams include Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee from the Southeastern Conference as well as Michigan State and Minnesota from the Big 10. BYU has had the opportunity to play in 11 professional stadiums and 32 states around the country.

Along with broadcasting BYU’s home football games, the broadcasting rights extend to men’s basketball. ESPN will air 17 WCC games during the regular season and games into the postseason, including tournament championships, for the next seven years.

Zach Wilson smiles during the press conference that followed BYU’s bowl win in 2018. This game was aired on ESPN as part of ESPN’s contract with BYU. (BYU Photo)

BYU agreed to play in ESPN owned bowl games contingent on their seasons in 2020, 2022 and 2024. They have already appeared in four ESPN bowls, one of them being the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl when quarterback Zach Wilson went perfect on his pass completion rate.

They also have an opportunity to compete in the historic Independence Bowl held in Shreveport, La., during the 2021, 2023 and 2025 seasons. The 2021 and 2025 bowl games could feature BYU and a Conference USA opponent, while the 2023 bowl game could feature BYU and a Pac-12 opponent. Participating in this bowl game will allow BYU to cater to its national audience, especially in the Southeastern U.S.

The Cougars could potentially compete in the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix if a Big 10 and Big 12 team fail to qualify. If this opportunity arises, it would take place of one Independence Bowl and one ESPN bowl.

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