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West Coast Conference extends ESPN deal, will air basketball games on ESPN+

Sean Farnham and Dave Pasch broadcast the Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s game for ESPN on Jan. 14, 2017, from the McCarthey Athletic Center. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced Wednesday that ESPN will be available as an a la carte streaming product in 2025.  (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A revamped media rights deal between the West Coast Conference and ESPN will allow Gonzaga fans to watch men’s and women’s basketball games – and other sporting events – on the network’s popular streaming service, ESPN+, starting this fall.

The WCC and ESPN extended their partnership on Tuesday, announcing a new multi-year deal that will continue to give Gonzaga’s basketball program national visibility on ESPN’s linear networks while simultaneously giving fans the option to view games on ESPN+.

Under the new deal, ESPN will air 17 men’s regular-season basketball games on its main platforms, as well as six WCC Tournament men’s and women’s basketball games.

The WCC’s media rights deal also includes a partnership with CBS Sports Network, which will televise up to 12 regular season men’s basketball games.

Gonzaga, a projected preseason top-20 team, should get significant air time on both networks. All but seven of the Bulldogs’ regular-season WCC games were televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or CBSSN.

Beginning in 2023-24, all men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s water polo, baseball and softball games that aren’t televised on linear networks will be available to ESPN+ subscribers.

“I am excited to expand our longstanding relationship with ESPN,” first-year WCC Commissioner Stu Jackson said in a league press release. “While continuing our strong linear agreement, the ESPN+ platform and its more than 25 million subscribers provides exceptional visibility and access to showcase our regular season and conference championship events.

“ESPN provides the conference and our fanbase with great exposure to our events and I look forward to the launch of the WCC on ESPN+ this week.”

Locally, Gonzaga fans will still be able to watch men’s and women’s basketball games on KHQ/ROOT.