DENVER – Continuing a relationship that spans more than 31 years, the Western Athletic Conference and ESPN have announced a new multi-year, multi-platform media rights agreement that will see over 500 annual events on ESPN+ and the ESPN App. ESPN will also televise select regular season men’s basketball games and the championship games for the WAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments on ESPN linear networks.
“The WAC and ESPN have a long history together and it’s exciting to continue that relationship into the future,’ said WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd. “ESPN remains the gold standard when it comes to sports and this multi-year agreement will continue to assist in the WAC’s growth nationally.”
“As the WAC expands its fan base into new markets across the country, we’re pleased to continue ESPN’s association with the conference, which started more than three decades ago. With more than 500 annual events included in this new agreement, we look forward to showcasing the WAC’s talented student-athletes and member institutions,” said Dan Margulis, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions.
All home football and men’s and women’s basketball games will reside on ESPN platforms, as well as selected other events. The WAC will also produce and air over 70 championship events on ESPN+ in the upcoming year.
“Enhancing our relationship with ESPN allows fans around the WAC and the country to see our stellar brand of college sports,” added WAC executive director of broadcasting Eric Danner. “ESPN+ has grown exponentially in the past three years and we are thrilled to now have hundreds of regular season events and WAC championship productions associated with the strongest brand in sports.”
In May 1995, the WAC became the first conference in the country to have an exclusive contract with ESPN for football and basketball games. The conference’s extensive history with ESPN includes having nearly all WAC championship events on ESPN+ since the platform launched in the summer of 2018.
About the WAC
The WAC is a Division I conference located in the southern metro Denver area. The member institutions are Abilene Christian University; California Baptist University; Chicago State University; Dixie State University; Grand Canyon University; Lamar University; New Mexico State University; Sam Houston State University; Seattle University; Stephen F. Austin State University; Tarleton State University; The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; and Utah Valley University. In addition, Southern Utah University joins the league on July 1, 2022. The WAC crowns team and individual champions in 20 sports – 10 men’s and 10 women’s. For more information, visit WACsports.com and follow the WAC on Twitter @WACsports.
ESPN+ is the industry-leading sports streaming service that offers fans in the U.S. thousands of live sports events, original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks and exclusive editorial content from dozens of ESPN writers and reporters. Launched in April 2018, ESPN+ has grown to more than 14.9 million subscribers.
Fans sign up to ESPN+ for just $6.99 a month (or $69.99 per year) at ESPN.com, ESPNplus.com or on the ESPN App (mobile and connected devices). It is also available as part of The Disney Bundle that gives subscribers access to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu for $13.99/month (Hulu w/ads) or $19.99/month (Hulu w/o ads).
Media Day hype, player rankings are clickbait | Pickaxe and Roll – Denver Stiffs
Ryan Blackburn shares his thoughts on the third day of player interviews for media week that included Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, and Michael Porter Jr. in a stacked session. Gordon was chill, Barton was excited, Green was professional, Rivers was insightful, and Porter showed readiness to take the leap. Then, Ryan discusses the ESPN player rankings that are filtering out and what they had to say about the Nuggets and Nikola Jokić.
Hashtag Trending September 24 – European Commission Mandates USB-C; Social Media Platforms Sue Texas; Fedex’s Autonomous Delivery – IT World Canada
The European Commission hopes to mandate USB-C on smartphones, Texas is being sued over a new law for social media platforms, and FedEx completes its first fully autonomous vehicle delivery.
It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Friday, September 24, and I’m your host, Jori Negin-Shecter.
The European Commission has announced plans to mandate a USB-C charging port on smartphones and other electronics. The goal is to reduce the number of chargers users need to buy, thus reducing electronic waste. Although it isn’t directly targeted at Apple, the mandate will affect the company the most. Apple still uses its own Lighting connector for its flagship smartphones, including their recently announced iPhone 13 series. As more laptops and smartphones switch to USB-C, calls for Apple to drop the Lightning port have grown as well. Notably, the Commission’s plan only targets wired charging, meaning the requirement does not apply to a device that exclusively uses wireless charging.
Texas is being sued by groups representing Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter over a new bill that would prevent these platforms from banning users based on their political views. The law, called House Bill 20, bars social media platforms with over 50 million monthly users in the U.S. from banning users for their viewpoints. Additionally, the law also requires social media companies to file a public suspension report biannually. The reports must detail content removal and account suspensions. Supporters say the goal of the bill is to increase transparency and ensure that users are treated fairly. Despite this, the lawsuit claims that the government cannot force the social media platforms to host content that goes against their terms of service. A law of similar nature that sought to deplatform politicians for their viewpoints was struck down this past June in Florida.
Finally, FedEx has announced that it completed its first delivery run using an autonomous truck. The route stretched 500 miles round trip between Houston and Dallas. The success of the trip signals that the delivery company in Texas will begin using more autonomous vehicles in the not so distant future. The truck, which was developed by truck maker PACCAR and autonomous driving company Aurora, uses LiDAR, radar and various other sensors to drive safely on highways. [Business Insider]
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Friday at 3 pm. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Jori Negin-Shecter.
Wonder Media Network’s Jenny Kaplan Mulls Podcaster’s Next Move – Forbes
Wonder Media Network Chief Executive Jenny Kaplan is figuring out how to turn her passion for podcasts into a business that can remain viable over the long run.
The New York-based company, which Kaplan co-founded in 2018, aims to appeal to audiences either overlooked or ignored by the mainstream media.
“We really wanted to start an organization that was a media company that was based in politics, business and culture, where women were perhaps our first core audience but where we had this big mission of amplifying underrepresented voices,” Kaplan said in an interview.
Wonder Media Network makes money selling advertising and sponsorships on its line-up of 26 original shows, including Encyclopedia Wommanica, The Brown Girls Guide to Politics, and Majority 54. It also produces podcasts for corporate clients such as Microsoft
, and Spotify for a fee.
Wonder Media Network is facing the same competitive pressures for advertisers and listeners that lead to the sales in recent months of Bill Simmons’ Ringer Podcast network, Wondery and Stitcher. The industry consolidation shows no signs of slowing
“As more and more people produce podcasts, discoverability gets harder,” Kaplan said in an interview. “So we have been approached (about a sale) and are open to conversations. Our goal from the beginning has been to create a company that can be successful on its own and produces the kinds of shows that we want.”
Kaplan declined to be more specific about a potential Wonder Media Network sale.
Unlike other podcasters, Wonder Media Network typically doesn’t sell ads using pricing based on CPMs, or cost per thousand (listeners), preferring monthly or seasonal deals.
According to Kaplan, the company’s approach to advertising enables it create better-produced ads that fit seamlessly with the content Wonder Media Network is creating.
“They sound better and feel better to the listeners, the hosts and the sponsors,” she said.
Kaplan funded Wonder Media Network launch along with Chief Marketing Officer Shira Atkins, who also co-founded the company. New Media Ventures, a venture fund and a network of investors that backs progressive-minded companies, has also invested in Wonder Media. According to Kaplan, Wonder Media Network was cash-flow positive and profitable in less than a year and continues to make money.
Like other podcast producers, Wonder Media Network is willing to tackle complicated stories at a time when online publishers are pressuring writers to produce sensationalist clickbait content like listicles that they hope will drive traffic to their sites.
“Podcasts are getting longer and more intricate,” Kaplan said. “People want to examine perspectives and different opinions in podcasting in a much longer form.”
Wonder Media Network’s first show was Women Belong In The House, which chronicled her mother Kathy Manning’s campaign for the U.S. Congress in North Carolina and the challenges facing other female candidates seeking elected office.
Manning lost her first election in 2018 but succeeded two years later after a court-ordered redistricting made the district friendlier for Democrats. Before her victory, the seat had been in Republican hands since 1985.
“I had always been obsessed with politics and storytelling, which is why I got to journalism, to begin with, at least the storytelling side of things,” Kaplan said. “And so I had this front-row seat to look at what it’s like to run for office. I was obsessed with trying to figure out and diving into why there are so few women in office.”
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