ESPN giving CBS Sports Network a slice of MACtion

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The MAC will be adding a new network to its list of broadcast partners in 2015; CBS Sports Network. The cable sports network operated by CBS and CBS Sports will be the new part-time home for MAC football and basketball through a new sublicense agreement with ESPN.

According to a statement released by the MAC Wednesday morning, CBSSN will broadcast up to 12 football and 12 basketball games per year through 2018-2019. This season will see six football games played on the cable sports network. That will include a pair of Thursday night games and a game on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

“Today’s announcement is another important step in the continued growth of Mid-American Conference television coverage,” said Mid-American Conference Commissioner, Dr. Jon Steinbrecher. “Having CBS Sports Network join us is part of our vision for the growth of live national coverage for our fan base. This agreement provides another platform to showcase the outstanding students attending Mid-American Conference member institutions.”

The total viewership for CBS Sports Network is still minimal compared to the potential audience the MAC would land on any of the ESPN networks, but it does help give the conference a spotlight all to its own rather than buried under higher-profile matchups appearing on ESPN or ESPN 2 from the college football line-up or other sports programming. It also helps ESPN avoid going up against any Thursday night NFL game, a venture a platform like CBS Sports Network would be much more inclined to take on at this time.

CBS Sports Network now has college football broadcasting deals in place for home Army and Navy games, the MAC, Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference. CBSSN has also aired notable Division 2 and Division 3 games in recent years.