ESPN Sues Athletic Conference Over Television Rights

Apr 8, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
ESPN Sues Athletic Conference Over Television Rights

ESPN recently filed a federal lawsuit against Conference USA claiming that the league did not fulfill its contractual obligations when signing a deal with Fox Sports Media Group in January.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that ESPN claims it secured a contract extension agreement with the conference via email, but the league later decided to come to an agreement with Fox. ESPN also claims that the conference did not give it a final offer to consider prior to negotiating with Fox, which was allegedly part of the previous contract.

According to the lawsuit, the "worldwide leader in sports" is asking the court to enforce a contract worth $22 million over five years that it reached with the conference and void the five-year $43 million deal it allegedly signed with Fox.

"As we said earlier, the idea that they were disadvantaged is incorrect," explained Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky. "They had every opportunity to step up and address our concerns, and they simply did not."

ESPN states in the lawsuit that it would accept $21 million in damages if the court was unable to void the contract between the conference and Fox Sports Media Group.