It is no stretch to say that this is a day that Ivy League sports fans have been waiting years for. The conference has struck a major national TV deal with NBC Sports Network to broadcast football, men's basketball and lacrosse.
"I think this is a great television package for the Ivy League and will allow a national audience to become more acquainted with the high level of talent that exists among our schools," Penn athletic director Steve Bilsky said in a statement. "Kudos to [Ivy League executive director] Robin Harris and her staff for getting this accomplished."
I suspect that Bilsky can also claim a share of the credit, as he sits on the conference athletic directors' television committee with Columbia's M. Dianne Murphy and Yale's Thomas Beckett.
The press release has all the details, so I'll just give it straight to you.
UPDATE: There'e one major detail that isn't really enumerated in the press release. I've been told that not all of the games in the contract have to be conference games. There is the potential for the deal to include non-conference games, especially in basketball. Stay tuned.
NEW YORK -- The Ivy League and the NBC Sports Group announced a two-year renewal of their national television rights agreement today that includes an increase in football games, and the first-ever rights for the NBC Sports Network to televise men's basketball and men's lacrosse games.
Beginning with the upcoming 2012 football season and continuing through the 2014 lacrosse season, the NBC Sports Network will televise a minimum of six, but no more than 10, football games, six-to-10 men's basketball games, and up to four men's lacrosse games annually.
Even more Ivy League games may be seen on a national basis within this agreement as the NBC Sports Network has acquired the rights to sublicense additional football and men's basketball games to a national sports network.
"The Ivy League is excited to continue our relationship with the NBC Sports Network," said Robin Harris, Ivy League Executive Director. "The NBC Sports Network has been an outstanding partner and we appreciate their interest in enhancing our existing relationship by increasing the number of games and sports. We are pleased to showcase more Ivy League competition nationally to our passionate fan base which has a thirst for Ivy League athletics."
"We are proud to again partner with the Ivy League, a conference whose institutions and student-athletes consistently comport themselves with great distinction while attracting an audience with a favorable demographic for our growing sports network," said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports & NBC Sports Network. "With this renewal, the Ivy League will now provide quality content for the NBC Sports Network across three college seasons."
Per the agreement, the NBC Sports Network will televise the annual football game played between Harvard and Yale, known as "The Game", in both 2012 and 2013. In 2012, "The Game" will be played at Harvard and will mark the 129th iteration of the rivalry. Yale leads the series 65-55-8.