ESPN Events

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ESPN Regional Television
Private Subsidiary
Traded as ESPN Events
Industry Media
Genre Sports
Predecessor Creative Sports
Ohlmeyer Communications Corporation
Headquarters Charlotte, NC
Key people
Pete Derzis, GM, Sr. VP
Services Television syndication
Parent ESPN Inc.

ESPN Regional Television, Inc., currently operating under the name ESPN Events, is also called ESPN Regional or ESPN Plus (ERT), is an American television program syndicator. ERT is based along with sister network ESPNU in Charlotte, North Carolina. Prior to its purchase by ESPN, this sports package's syndicator was known as Creative Sports, which in turn merged with Don Ohlmeyer's Ohlmeyer Communication Corporation (OCC) Sports, or OCC Sports. Through its division ESPN Events, the corporation also organizes sporting events for broadcast across the ESPN family of networks, including, most prominently, a group of college football bowl games.

Most of ESPN's syndicated broadcasts were previously presented under the on-air name ESPN Plus. However, the brand has since been phased out from its productions in favor of conference brands, such as SEC TV and the Big 12 Network.


Creative Sports, Inc., a North Carolina based sports syndicator, was owned and built by Bray Cary. ESPN Inc. purchased Creative Sports, Inc. and OCC Sports, Inc. in the mid-1990s.[1]


ESPN Regional Television was formed in 1996 combining Creative Sports and OCC Sports under the direct of Chuck Gerber and Loren Matthews.[1] On March 12, 1999, ESPN Regional Television was incorporated in New York State.[2]

In January 2000, Loren Matthews move to ABC Sports. ERT by February 2000 acquired all production rights to the Arena Football League even for The Nashville Network broadcasts over its own unit World Sports Enterprises.[1]

In 2001, ESPN Regional Television moved beyond broadcasting college bowls with the purchase of the Las Vegas Bowl.[3]

In August 2008, ESPN Regional secured sports broadcast right for a 15 year from the Southeastern Conference formerly held by Raycom Sports syndicating them under the "SEC Network" brand with some games to ESPNU beginning in 2009 and ESPN and ESPN2 as the "SEC on ESPN".[4][5]


ESPN Regional Television produces and syndicates broadcasts from the following conferences:

Games air on broadcast stations, regional sports networks, and on ESPN GamePlan and ESPN Full Court, both of which are out of market sports packages, and also on ESPN3/WatchESPN since 2007.

College Football Broadcast teams[edit]





College Basketball Broadcast Teams[edit]




Former rights[edit]

ESPN Plus once had rights to Conference USA football and basketball, Mountain West Conference football and basketball, and Big Ten Conference football and basketball, but has since lost them as detailed below:

  • Conference USA - Broadcast rights to C-USA football, outside of the CUSA championship, are owned by CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports. Basketball rights are owned by those two and CBS. The American Sports Network, an offering similar to ESPN Plus, began to syndicate other C-USA games in the 2014 season.
  • Mid-American Conference basketball moved to SportsTime Ohio in 2010.
  • Mountain West Conference - Broadcast rights to MWC football and basketball games are now owned by CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network, and were formerly shown on the (now defunct) MTN.
  • Big Ten Conference - Broadcast rights to Big Ten Conference football and basketball games not selected to air regionally or nationally on CBS, ESPN or ESPN2 are owned by BTN. ESPN Plus lost the rights to the new network in August 2007.
  • Southeastern Conference (SEC): Broadcast rights to SEC football and basketball games not selected to air regionally or nationally on CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU will be broadcast on the new SEC Network starting with the 2014 football season and the 2014-15 basketball season. This is part of a new 20-year contract between the SEC and ESPN to create the new network. They were formerly shown through Raycom Sports, and before that Lincoln Financial (formerly Jefferson Pilot Sports (1987-2009)) before being produced by ESPN Plus-produced SEC Network (syndicated), rebranded as SEC TV in 2013. [7]


Through ERT's ESPN Events division, the group also owns and organizes sporting events for broadcast across ESPN's networks. ESPN Events organizes the following college football bowl games:[8]

ERT first got into owning Bowl games 2001 with the Las Vagas Bowl, purchased from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The company moved in the area as they saw some of their conference partners with team that were bowl qualified but no bowl available to take them. By 2013, ERT had started two new bowl games and purchased 4 more.[3]

Most of these games (except the Armed Forces, Birmingham and Texas Bowls) are usually held before Christmas and until 2006 were branded under the name Bowl Road Trip, while ESPN telecasts after Christmas were referred to as Capital One Bowl Week. As of the 2007 bowl season, however, Bowl Week now covers all non-College Football Playoff games shown on ESPN, ESPN2, or ABC.) [10]

ESPN Events organizes the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney, a regular season game between teams representing two conferences of historically black colleges and universities in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.

ESPN Events also organizes college basketball events, such as the Wooden Legacy in Fullerton, California, the Jimmy V Classic in New York, the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, the Charleston Classic in South Carolina, the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Orlando Classic held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, the Puerto Rico Tip-Off held in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, the Armed Forces Classic held at USCG Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and the SEARS BracketBusters games held in February each year. Most games in these tournaments are shown on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU; those not shown on television air on ESPN3.

In golf, ERT also produced the Champions Tour's Wendy's Champions Skins Game, which aired on ABC and ESPN2 respectively.[citation needed] The company produced the Skins Game, which they own via the purchase of OCC Sports.[1] ERT also organizes the National Golf Challenge for amateur players.

College marketing division[edit]

With the company's success with college tournament operation and broadcasting led to forming a college marketing division. This division provides colleges all-in-one services for selling sponsorships, local media rights and other marketing campaigns. The University of South Florida, the University of Kansas and the University of Oregon are some the divisions clients in 2000.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Spanberg, Erik (February 21, 2000). "ESPN's secret weapon". Charlotte Business Journal (American City Business Journals). Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "ESPN REGIONAL TELEVISION, INC.". Entity Information. NYS Department of State. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Jessop, Alicia (January 5, 2013). "ESPN's Path to Becoming a Bowl Game Owner and Redefining Bowl Game Operations". Forbes. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  4. ^ Solomon, Jon (August 25, 2008). "ESPN, SEC reach 15-year, $2.25 billion pact". (Alabama Media Group). Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ "SEC Network timeline: The conference's journey to its own television channel". April 15, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ Big 12 Men's Basketball Television Frequently Asked Questions
  7. ^
  8. ^ Schrotenboer, Brent (11 Dec 2012). "The Windfall Bowl: Pay for bowl directors keeps rising". USA Today (Gannett Company). Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Solomon, Jon (August 19, 2013). "Montgomery lands ESPN-owned bowl between Sun Belt and MAC". (Alabama Media Group). Retrieved September 24, 2014. 
  10. ^ ESPN Plus Official Site - About ESPN Regional Television

External links[edit]