Summit League unveils an expansion of media rights through agreements with CBS Sports and Midco
2024 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship Finals to Air on CBS Sports Network
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Summit League announced new three-year media rights agreements with CBS Sports and Midco Thursday that will provide expanded national linear distribution on CBS Sports Network, as well as a direct-to-consumer branded digital network through Midco.
Over the past 12 months, the League organized a media rights committee, made up of membership constituents, to assess the history of media rights within the Summit League, the current linear and digital rights landscape, and future opportunities. The committee established four key priorities throughout the process: expansion of national linear distribution, increased revenue, enhanced fan affinity and experience, and protection of member local/regional relationships.
“The Summit League is ecstatic to announce a new relationship with CBS Sports and an expanded partnership with Midco. This is a historic moment for the League, and these relationships will give fans a better experience to consume Summit League content, with more national exposure on CBS Sports Network and enhanced digital content through Midco,” said Summit League Commissioner Josh Fenton. “In an ever-changing and complicated landscape of media rights, we believe the unique combination of CBS Sports and Midco helps the League and membership align with these established priorities.”
The new partnership with CBS Sports will boost the profile of The Summit League by providing more nationally televised basketball games than ever before. Starting with the upcoming basketball season, CBS Sports Network will televise at least six Summit League regular-season men’s basketball games with an opportunity to add an additional six men’s or women’s games. The schedule of regular season contests to air on CBS Sports Network will be released in the fall. Member institutions will retain the local linear distribution rights for any games not on CBS Sports Network.
In addition to the regular season, CBS Sports Network will televise select games during the 2024 Summit League Basketball Championships. The Women’s Championship semifinals and final, along with the Men’s Championship final will air on CBS Sports Network in the traditional tournament slots. This is the first time in the history of the Summit League that the semifinals will be televised nationally.
Both Summit League finals in 2025 and 2026 will be televised by CBS Sports Network with the men’s and women’s semifinals in those years having the potential to be televised based on scheduling availability.
“We are excited to begin this partnership with The Summit League,” said Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports. “This deal allows us to add live games throughout the regular season to our CBS Sports Network schedule, as well as two automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament with the Men’s and Women’s Championship finals.”
The Summit League has expanded its partnership with Midco by creating the Summit League Network (SLN), which will be powered by Midco Sports Plus. SLN will be a subscription-based, one-stop shop for all Summit League digital content and serve as the exclusive streaming home for live and on-demand coverage of the member institutions. Fans can expect more than 600 live events to be streamed through SLN on the Midco Sports Plus app each year.
“This partnership is a win for everyone involved,” said Midco Chair and CEO Pat McAdaragh. “We are so pleased to further our relationship with The Summit League, giving fans across the country access to riveting games, entertaining interviews, and heartwarming feature stories on Midco Sports Plus. With this broader relationship even more people will know how special The Summit League is.”
Midco Sports has been producing Summit League postseason basketball for more than a decade and will continue to televise the women’s and men’s first round and quarterfinal games during the next three years. Midco Sports will distribute the men’s semifinals in 2024, with 2025 and 2026 to be decided later. All Summit League regular season and basketball championship broadcasts produced by Midco Sports will also be available on SLN.
SLN broadcasts will include all home regular-season conference and non-conference games for the sports of volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, softball, and baseball. Production for SLN broadcasts will be the responsibility of the home institution and may include a digital-only telecast or use of an institution’s local TV partner production.
Summit League championships for each of the team sports listed above along with the cross country, indoor/outdoor track and field, and swimming and diving championships will also be streamed on SLN.
The Summit League Network powered by Midco Sports Plus is available in mobile/tablet apps (iOS and Android), connected TV device apps (AppleTV, FireTV, and Roku), and a web-based browser interface (SummitLeagueNetwork.tv).
Collegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG) assisted the League during the media rights analysis and negotiation process over the past year.
ABOUT CBS SPORTS NETWORK
CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour home of CBS Sports, is widely available through all major cable, satellite, and telco distributors as well as via OTT streaming service providers YouTube TV, fuboTV, DirecTV and Hulu. Additionally, a live CBS Sports Network stream is available through CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App by authenticating with select providers. For more information, including a full programming schedule, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.
Midco provides a superior network and an exceptional customer experience while being a force for good in the communities it serves. Midco is the leading provider of reliable, high-speed internet via fiber and fixed wireless technology. By 2025, Midco will deploy 10G, the next great leap for broadband – while expanding its fiber network to rural areas. The company also delivers TV services including Midco Sports (a regional sports network), phone, data center and advertising services, plus wholesale networking solutions.
Midco fiber serves 490,000 homes and businesses in 400 communities in Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Visit Midco.com to learn more about Midco and how the company has been giving back to communities since 1931.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., The Summit League is embarking on its 42nd year at the NCAA Division I level and offers 19 championship sports. The League’s nine institutions have a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 and include five located in top 60 U.S. metropolitan populations and two land-grant universities. Full-time member institutions are the University of Denver, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, University of Nebraska Omaha, Oral Roberts University, University of St. Thomas, University of South Dakota, and South Dakota State University.