Fans will be able to see more of the Butler Bulldogs—for more than men’s basketball—on their television screens this season.
Butler’s jump to the Big East Conference this year includes a new television partner, Fox Sports 1, for men’s basketball and other sports. The new cable network premiered in August and is available to approximately 90 million homes.
The deal between the Big East and Fox Sports 1 is worth approximately $500 million over 12 years, according to reports from the USA Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The official financial terms of the agreement are confidential, according to Butler athletics director Barry Collier and Fox Sports Executive Vice President Larry Jones.
Fox Sports 1 will air more than 100 regular-season Big East men’s basketball games and the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament this season.
The television deal will lead to unprecedented exposure for Butler, Collier said.
“There are more fans than ever before that will be able to watch Butler and the other Big East schools,” Collier said. “From a marketing and branding and exposure standpoint, that’s very positive on a number of levels, including the exposure that goes to potential students who may learn about Butler though that Fox contract.”
Fox Sports networks will broadcast a total of 21 Butler men’s basketball regular-season games on Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, and Fox Sports Network National. Fox Sports 1 will air 16 games, Fox Sports 2 will air three games and two games will be aired nationally on FSN affiliates.
“To look at the 15 home regular-season game schedule and think that all of them are going to be on national television, (it) is the best situation we’ve ever been in,” Mike Freeman, associate athletics director, said.
Collier said he thinks there are no drawbacks to having such a large number of men’s basketball games broadcast on Fox Sports networks, and he added that he does not expect attendance to be negatively affected.
“The exposure actually is advertising for people to come to the next game,” Collier said.
Joe Gentry, director of corporate sponsorships and manager of radio and TV for the Butler athletics department, said he expects advertising inside Hinkle Fieldhouse to be affected by the increased exposure.
“For us with corporate sponsorship, that ad on the scorers’ table now is going throughout the country instead of just to central Indiana,” Gentry said. “I think that’s going to help us probably more in the future than now, (to) get more regional and national sponsors.”
Only two of Butler’s 30 regular-season games are without a television broadcaster at this point—two non-conference road games at Ball State and Evansville on Nov. 23 and Dec. 21, respectively.
Butler had an agreement with Indianapolis’ WNDY-TV Channel 23 to broadcast select men’s basketball games locally from the 2008-2009 season through the 2012-2013 season.
Fox Sports networks will also broadcast 16 Big East women’s basketball games this season, including Butler’s Feb. 1 game at Xavier, which will air on Fox Sports 2.
An additional 12 non-basketball athletic events in sports like soccer, baseball and softball will air on Fox Sports networks. The only two games selected at this time are the Big East men’s and women’s soccer championship games. The other 10 games will occur in the spring.
Every game that airs on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 will be broadcast through a mobile app, Fox Sports Go, as well.