ESPN, NCAA reach TV deal that includes men’s volleyball Final Four

The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament will air on the ESPN network for the foreseeable future.

The NCAA and ESPN announced Thursday that they have reached an agreement giving the network broadcasting rights to 24 NCAA championships, including men’s volleyball, through the 2023-24 school year.

All three men’s volleyball Final Four matches — both semifinals matches and the national championship — have aired on the ESPN networks for the last 10 years. The NCAA had previously signed an 11-year contract with ESPN in 2001 giving the network broadcasting rights to most of its Division I championship events.


The new deal also moves the men’s volleyball national championship match to ESPNU for the 2012 season.

The championship match in previous years had aired on ESPN or ESPN2. ESPNU, the network’s 24-hour college sports channel, had been used in previous years to broadcast men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament semifinal matches.

Along with men’s volleyball, the new agreement gives ESPN broadcasting rights to seven additional NCAA championship events — women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s fencing, Division I women’s lacrosse, Division I men’s and women’s outdoor track and women’s bowling. ESPN has agreed to air more than 600 hours of live NCAA programming each year.

“Thousands of inspiring and compelling student-athletes make it to the championship level every year, and we at the NCAA are excited to be able to share their stories with a broader audience than ever,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “Across all sports and divisions, our primary goal is to support student-athlete success both on the field and in the classroom, and this new agreement provides us a greater ability to do so.”

The 2012 men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament will be May 3-5 at the USC’s Galen Center.