NEWPORT NEWS, Va.—The 2013-14 Atlantic 10 men’s basketball conference schedule features a record number of nationally televised games as well as significant conference matchups, including 85 games with at least one team that participated in the 2013 postseason. The schedule and the games that will air nationally on ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBCSN were announced Thursday by the A-10.
The first year of the conference’s eight-year media television partnership will feature a record 71 nationally televised games: 50 conference games, 14 premium non-conference contests and the quarterfinals, semifinals and final of the men’s basketball championship. The championship final will air on CBS Sports for the fifth straight year as part of the network’s Selection Sunday coverage.
“The Atlantic 10 is proud to be partnered with three of the largest and best media companies in the world; ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBCSN who will distribute our games and programming to millions of households across the country, allowing our alumni and fans the opportunity to watch A-10 games on multiple national platforms,” stated Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “The leagues’ strategic focus on our foundation as a nationally relevant basketball-centric conference has delivered a formidable media package, showcasing the best of our institutions, programs, coaches and student athletes.”
The entire league schedule will highlight the strength and tradition of outstanding basketball in the Atlantic 10, with at least one 2013 postseason team in 82 percent of the games. Seven of the league’s 13 current members participated in the postseason last year, with five of those reaching 21 wins or better. Four of those teams also won at least one game to advance in the postseason. Every team will have at least four national television appearances, while seven teams will have nine or more national TV games.
The conference season begins on Tuesday, Jan. 7 when Rhode Island hosts defending A-10 champion Saint Louis at 7:00 pm on CBS Sports Network. Thursday, Jan. 9 will mark the first conference game for league newcomer George Mason, when the Patriots travel to VCU at 7:00 pm for a CBS Sports Network game. Sweet 16 darling La Salle will play its first A-10 game on NBCSN, facing George Washington at 8:00 pm on Thursday, Jan. 9. Saturday, Feb. 15 will feature a rematch of the 2013 A-10 title game when VCU travels to Saint Louis for a game that will air on ESPN Networks. The return game for that matchup will also air on ESPN on Saturday, March 1.
In all, the ESPN networks will air 10 conference games and 14 total A-10 games as part of the league’s package. That includes two back-to-back College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon games on Nov. 12 (Quinnipiac at La Salle, 9:00 am and LSU at Massachusetts, 11:00 am). ESPN’s College GameDay will highlight the Atlantic 10 when La Salle hosts Temple at the Palestra as part the A-10 package at noon on Jan. 18.
CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network will carry 21 conference games, four non-conference matchups and the Men’s Basketball Championship semifinals and final for a total of 28 games. CBS Sports Network will also produce and distribute ancillary programming focusing on the A-10 basketball programs and student-athletes as the season progresses.
NBCSN is slated to air 19 Atlantic 10 Conference games, six non-conference games as part of the A-10 package. The network will also produce the four A-10 Championship quarterfinal games and carry those on NBCSN or air them on regional sports networks.NBCSN, which forged a partnership with the league last year, will produce a total of 29 games this season as part of the league package.
All 13 teams will advance to the 2014 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. There will be an opening round game Wednesday, March 12. First round games will be played Thursday, March 13. The winners of those four games will advance to the quarterfinal round, which will be produced by NBCSN on Friday, March 14. Semifinal games will be played on CBS Sports Network at 1 and 3:30 pm on Saturday, March 15 and the finals on NCAA Selection Sunday, March 16 at 1:00 p.m., which will air live on CBS Sports.
The three media partners combine for over 200 million subscribers total subscribers nationwide. Atlantic 10 institutions reside in markets that comprise 32 million television viewers, 28 percent of the total national market. There are seven A-10 institutions in the top 25 media markets in the country.