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CUSA Announces New Multimedia Deal, Higher Rights Fees

The league announced a new broadcast deal today. The release has the requisite talking points and quotes from spokespeople if you are interested.

Here are the important parts of the deal to you, watcher of sports. CBS Sports will become “the primary rights holder for C-USA football land men’s basketball, televising the conference’s best games, including the conference championship(s).” Here are the networks and the games they will broadcast:

CBS Sports:

  • Nine (9) football games
  • FB Conference Championship
  • Eight (8) men’s basketball games per year
  • Men’s semifinals of CUSA Tourney
  • Men’s Championship
  • Women’s Championship

Deal With Facebook

Facebook has a sublicense deal that allows CBS to produce “select C-USA football and basketball games that will broadcast exclusively on Facebook.”

  • Three (3) football games
  • Six (6) basketball games (no word if this is men’s or women’s or a combination. Let us assume it is men’s only)This will be men’s only.

The deal with facebook will be that CBS graphics will be shown and there will be CBS announcers.


  • Fifteen (15) football games
    • Seven (7) of the 15 football games will be on Facebook
  • Seventeen (17) basketball games (again with the assumption here)See note above.
    • Ten (10) of the 21 (quarterfinal inclusive) will be on Facebook
  • Men’s quarterfinal rounds of the CUSA Tourney

The Stadium deal includes the retransmission via over-the-air broadcasts in select markets. I know DFW and San Antonio take advantage of these on TXA-21 and the CW, respectively.


Facebook games will be on Facebook Watch in the US, and on the facebook pages in other countries.

Cash Cash Cash

There was plenty confusion about the terms of the deal throughout the afternoon. Ed Miller did some reporting and figured it out.

Ed Miller of the Virginian-Pilot:

Though the league did not announce how much it will receive in rights fees, league sources said it is an increase from $200,000 to $400,000 per school.

That is the part you and I care about. Also, while the release states “multi-year” the Miller report says “five.”

Well, the AP says the same.

NT Ad Wren Baker tweeted the following:

“We are excited about the new CUSA multimedia agreements. The agreements provides significantly more revenue & broader distribution through expansion of platforms which have proven to be popular with CUSA fans without adding production costs to institution budgets. We look forward to working with our colleagues at CUSA and our partners at CBS, Facebook and Stadium to advance the CUSA brand.”

The “significantly more revenue” is double the last deal. That alone makes this a better situation. Beyond that there is still the possibility that old partner ESPN gets involved in the deal.

Miller again:

League spokesman Tim McNamara said the league is talking to ESPN about continuing its partnership. A deal with BeIn Sports runs another year.

Also very important is this item that echoes what Wren Baker tweeted:

From Miller’s piece again:

Selig called Facebook “a huge potential audience.” And he said that a potentially overlooked part of the deal is that CBS and Stadium will bear production costs.

“A league might say they have a $10 million deal with ESPN,” he said. “What they don’t tell you is $9 million is sent back to ESPN in production costs. So they actually have a $1 million deal with ESPN.”

The production cost thing is clearly a shot at the Sun Belt, which announced its ESPN deal earlier this month.


As Ed notes, there remains a year on the beIn SPORTS deal. (The ratings for that were not good, by the way. A couple of games were at about 4K people.)

The terms of the beIN deal allowed the network to show

  • Ten (10) football games
  • Ten (10) men’s basketball
  • Ten (10) women’s basketball games
  • Twelve (12) baseball games
  • Twelve (12) softball games
  • Ten (10) men’s soccer matches
  • Ten (10) women’s soccer matches
  • Ten (10) women’s volleyball games

Total games broadcast: 37 football, 51 basketball + other sports + football and basketball postseason games.

Comparison Time

Continuing further, the previous deal allowed the following for the league’s partners:

CBS Sports

  • Six (6) football games
  • Six (6) basketball games
  • Men’s Championship
  • Women’s Championship


  • Five (5) football games
  • FB Championship Game

ASN (Now Stadium)

  • Fifteen (15) football games
  • Thirteen (13) men’s basketball games
  • Two (2) women’s basketball games
  • Option for the following:
    • Additional up to fifteen (15) football
    • Forty-two (42) men’s basketball
    • Three (3) women’s basketball
    • Ten (10) Olympic sport events and conference championships

Campus Insiders*

CI eventually was absorbed by Stadium in the partnership between Sinclair and IMG College/Silver Chalice

  • Six (6) football games
  • Ten (10) basketball games
  • Men’s first round games
  • Women’s first round games
  • Women’s quarterfinal games

Total games broadcast: 42 football, 31 basketball with options for more + olympic sports + football and basketball postseason games.

* Tip of the hat to LaTechReport who reminded me of the CI deal.


The general feeling across the league’s internet fans is that this is tentatively good because of the money and reducing the number of networks that are part of the league. Right now it is CBS Sports and that works for everyone to an extent. Having ESPN show the games was more ideal simply because most people are familiar with the channel offerings and WatchESPN is not too difficult to figure out. The issue is that ESPN preferred CUSA on ESPN3 and that was very little benefit with most of the “production” burden on the schools. The quality was hit-or-miss as well (FAU, UTEP had poor-to-quite-poor productions in my experience.)

Having CBS Sports produce same number of games at a consistent level is preferable possibly more games but at worse quality. BeIN did a great job with their broadcasts the last season, and CBS Sports has an even longer track record broadcasting college football. This is good.

The increased rights fees is also a benefit. Add to that the lowered production costs and everyone can feel okay about this deal. This league is not the SEC, nor the Big Ten, and there are no requirements to play on Tuesday nights (ahem MAC) and so each school can focus on bringing in nice, revenue-generating crowds that will look nice on Facebook.

This has been updated to add the CI deal
3/15 — This has been updated to reflect the correct number of Stadium games on Facebook. Hat tip to @dnadeau77 for the pointing out the mistake


  1. George George March 15, 2018

    I have had trouble keeping up with the UTEP games, living in Rice country. I hope there is an improvement this year.

    • Adam Martinez Adam Martinez Post author | March 16, 2018

      Having the local Sinclair affiliate pick up the Stadium feeds would be ideal, as would — in your case — the Miners being good this season.

      The league is in discussions with ESPN so that is a possibility also.

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