Ivy League announces long-term media rights deal with ESPN

Goodbye Ivy League Network, hello ESPN.

The Ivy League on Wednesday announced a 10-year media rights agreement with ESPN to show Ivy athletic events on a variety of ESPN platforms, including all Ivy League-controlled men’s and women’s basketball games.

The men’s basketball conference tournament semifinals and championship game will continue to air on an ESPN linear (non-streaming) network each year. The women’s basketball conference tournament championship game will still air on an ESPN linear network each year as well.

News of the agreement was first reported by John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal.

“We are excited to announce this groundbreaking and comprehensive long-term partnership with ESPN, which will dramatically increase our exposure and reach across the League’s broad-based sports offering,” Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris said, per the league’s news release. “This agreement preserves the Ivy League’s place at the forefront of innovation and connects the League with a partner that is driving the convergence of linear and digital sports programming.”

Harris led negotiations on the Ivy League’s behalf for the deal, according to SportsBusiness Journal, which also noted that the financial details of the deal are not known.

The Ivy League network first launched in 2013 as the Ivy League Digital Network and offered options such as a league four-month pass ($49.95/four months) and a league annual pass ($119.95/year).

The new deal will make 1,100 events from 30 sports available annually as part of ESPN+’s $4.99 monthly subscription.

ESPN+ is a subscription streaming service slated to launch April 12.

The Ivy League Network platform as we know it will no longer exist come July, but ILN branding will remain for online and local television broadcasts, with schools still handling production responsibilities, per Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald, who also reported that the league hasn’t yet determined what will happen to the platform’s archive of games.

“This comprehensive partnership with ESPN is a game-changer for Ivy athletics,” Princeton Athletic Director Mollie Marcoux Samaan said.

“With ESPN, our visibility … for all 33 Ivy League sports is about to take a quantum leap,” Brown Athletic Director Jack Hayes said.

2 thoughts on “Ivy League announces long-term media rights deal with ESPN”

  1. Does this mean that we subscribe to ESPN+ and do not renew our Ivy League Digital network subscriptions?

    If so, how do I avoid auto-renewal of my Ivy Digital subscription?

    • Hi Ron, yes, to watch Ivy League content on ESPN+, you will be required to create a new ESPN+ account. According to the Ivy League,
      your existing ILN account has been canceled effective June 30, 2018, and no further action is needed, and if you’re getting a charge for an Ivy League Network subscription on or after July 1, contact Neulion customer support. Neulion has live chat support available from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET, seven days a week. For email support, contact ilnsupport@neulion.com

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