UK blackout started in summer after TNT Sports deal ended
Unclear whether ESPN is seeking a partner to replace ESPN Player
NBC extends Notre Dame deal in the US until 2029
Sky Sports has snapped up the UK broadcast rights for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football and basketball, ending an ongoing blackout.
A deal with ESPN, which manages the NCAA’s international rights, will see Sky Sports broadcast up to three college football matches a week and all bowl championship games – including the College Football Playoff (CFP).
The arrangement also includes the rights to ESPN’s iconic College Gameday pre-game show and expires at the end of the 2024/25 season.
Both competitions had been absent from British screens since the summer after TNT Sports opted not to extend its agreement with ESPN, which also included magazine programming such as ‘Pardon the Interruption’.
The Disney-owned US sports broadcaster has also shut down its international ESPN Player direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming platform, which offered coverage of every event.
The exception to the blackout were games involving Notre Dame, which isn’t affiliated with a conference and sells its own media rights to broadcasters in the world, including Sky Sports in the UK.
NBC has held the rights to Notre Dame matchups in the US since 1991 and has now extended its deal from 2024 until 2029. Although the previous contract was worth US$22 million a season, financial terms for the extension have not been disclosed. However, it does include provisions for additional exclusive matches on NBC’s Peacock streaming service.
“There is no better tradition than Notre Dame Football in South Bend, and we are thrilled to keep that tradition within the NBC Sports family as we extend our relationship as the exclusive home of Fighting Irish home games through the end of the decade,” said Rick Cordella, NBC Sports president.
“With enhanced rights that allow us to present Notre Dame Football on NBC as well as across Peacock and additional platforms, we look forward to bringing the Fighting Irish to fans in more ways than ever before.”