Atlantic Ten Conference agrees to digital streaming of sporting events with ESPN+

NCAA Basketball 2018 – A10 Tournament Final Davidson Wildcats 58:57 Rhode Island Rams
Kellan Grady of Davidson with Atlantic Ten commissioner Bernadette McGlade after the Atlantic Ten’s men’s basketball final in March.

Maximum media exposure is the goal of most college sports conferences.

Thursday, the Atlantic Ten Conference took a 21st-century step by agreeing with ESPN on a multiyear deal that will provide streaming of more than 500 conference events on ESPN+.

The deal will allow fans of the conference’s schools, including La Salle and St. Joseph’s, to have streaming access to Atlantic Ten sports, including championships for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, field hockey, women’s lacrosse, softball, and women’s volleyball.

It means unprecedented sports media coverage for the A-10 schools. ESPN+ is a direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service.

“The A-10 and ESPN have had a long-term linear television agreement that has been a win-win for both parties,” A-10 commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said. “This additional agreement gives the Atlantic 10 and its membership unprecedented visibility on some of the best streaming technology in sports, and it gives ESPN+ a wealth of high-level collegiate sports content.”

The agreement, which will begin in the 2018-19 athletic season, will make ESPN+ the exclusive home of all digital-only A-10 home events.

If, for instance, a St. Joe’s or La Salle home game in men’s and women’s basketball is not on television but it is streamed, it will be on ESPN. The same thing applies for home games in the so-called “Olympic” sports.

The digital platform will carry Olympic-sport championship events and supplement ESPN’s television coverage of the regular season of men’s and women’s basketball.

Under the agreement, the A-10 women’s basketball championship game will still air on an ESPN television station.

ESPN+ is a subscription streaming service separate from what’s on the TV channels. It costs $4.99 a month, and you don’t need a cable or satellite subscription to get it. (Conversely, if you have a TV package that includes ESPN channels, you can’t get ESPN+ without the additional subscription.)

Sports streamed on ESPN+ include PGA Tour golf, Major League Soccer games that aren’t on national or local TV, and events in mid-major college sports conferences, including the Ivy League. Starting in January, ESPN+ also will have UFC mixed martial arts bouts.

The platform is accessible through ESPN’s website and apps for phones, tablets and devices such as AppleTV and Roku.

Staff writer Jonathan Tannenwald contributed to this article.