UConn Reaches Four-Year Deal With SNY To Carry WBB Games

UConn has selected SportsNet New York (SNY) to be its women’s basketball regional television broadcast partner for the next four seasons. The deal is pending finalization of an executed contract between the two parties.

CPTV and FOX CT were also involved in the bidding battle for the rights to televise the games. CPTV had provided coverage of UConn games since late in the 1993-94 season.

The agreement with SNY will expand UConn women’s basketball coverage to nearly 14 million homes. SNY’s regional territory features all of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Northeast Pennsylvania, accounting for a total of 8.7 million households. With national coverage on DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, Comcast Cable and AT&T U-Verse, the network’s total distribution is 13.7 million homes.

The rights fee that SNY provided to UConn is expected to be $4.55 million – approximately $1.14 million annually – over the four-year term of the contract which spans the 2012-13 season through 2015-16.

The rights fee in the previous four-year deal with CPTV averaged $900,000 annually.

“I am very excited that SNY will be our television home for the next four years,’’ UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma said. “This agreement will continue to provide all of our loyal fans in the state of Connecticut an opportunity to watch our team play and will also help us develop a whole new group of UConn women’s basketball fans throughout the Northeast and the entire nation. SNY will also allow us to showcase UConn women’s basketball to a larger audience, which will support our recruiting efforts and help us maintain the level of success in our program.’’

It was announced Aug. 5, 2010 that SNY had entered into a multi-year partnership with UConn to televise football and men’s basketball games. Now SNY has monopolized each of UConn’s three major sports.

“We’re thrilled to become the official TV home of UConn women’s basketball, the preeminent women’s basketball program in the nation,’’ SNY President Steve Raab said. “This is a landmark partnership and a special opportunity for SNY. Our unmatched distribution, unprecedented programming commitment, and live game production experience provides us the unique opportunity to help maintain and grow UConn’s leadership position.’’

The recent four-year deal with CPTV began at the start of the 2008-09 academic year and expired following the current academic year. It generated a minimum of $3.6 million in cash to the university, including seasonal rights of $800,000 the past two years.

CPTV began its coverage of UConn women’s basketball with the 1994 Big East tournament final and televising three games in the 1994 NCAA Tournament. The network had televised nearly 400 games over the last 19 seasons.

“This new agreement with SNY will bring UConn women’s basketball to more Husky fans than ever before throughout the region and the nation,’’ UConn President Susan Herbst said. “This is a great opportunity for the University to further showcase our outstanding women’s basketball program and reach our enthusiastic alumni base, both inside and outside the state of Connecticut. I would like to thank Connecticut Public Television, who has been our women’s basketball television home for the past 18 years. CPTV has been a loyal and dedicated partner, and both CPTV and UConn have benefited from the relationship. We look forward to maintaining a relationship with CPTV, both institutionally and in terms of athletics with their new CPTV Sports channel.’’

SNY, which is the official television home of the New York Mets, New York Jets and the Big East, is one of 14 managed regional sports networks by Comcast Sports Management Group. Comcast is the owner of NBC Universal and its NBC Sports Group. The entire NBC Sports Group will make Stamford, Conn., its new corporate headquarters next year.

A minimum of 17 live UConn games will be televised as part of the SNY package. The exact number of games is dependent on several factors related to Big East broadcast agreements, including the number of games selected for national television.

SNY will annually devote approximately 325 hours of coverage to UConn women’s basketball. In addition to the live games, there will be game replays, an in-season weekly coach’s show and a new program called “Geno’s Legacy.’’ This program, which will have two to three episodes annually, would feature interviews with former UConn players who have played a major role in the history of the program and highlight what these players are now doing in their lives.

The annual number of hours will also feature in-depth pregame and postgame shows for each broadcast that would originate live from SNY’s street-level studio in Manhattan.

“I am very impressed with the coverage that SNY will provide to our women’s basketball program,’’ UConn Director of Athletics Warde Manuel said. “SNY has been a great partner as our television home of Husky football and men’s basketball and we look forward to that relationship flourishing even more. SNY will provide our loyal Husky fans a terrific game presentation and production and will also feature a number of exciting multi-platform presentations.’’