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CPTV signs contract to air women's basketball, football

The Division of Athletics and Connecticut Public Television have signed a new four-year contract in which CPTV will continue to serve as the television broadcast home for UConn women's basketball and UConn football.

In announcing the wide-ranging agreement, Lew Perkins, director of athletics, and Jerry Franklin, CPTV president and chief executive officer, said the new contract calls for CPTV to own the exclusive local rights to televise at least 68 UConn women's basketball games during the next four years (at least 17 each season). In addition, as many as 12 Connecticut football games could be televised by CPTV during the agreement.

The agreement also calls for athletics and CPTV to work together on programming opportunities and multi-media projects. Some of those projects include the broadcast of 23 half-hour coaches/athletics director shows annually; production underwriting by CPTV for various sports videos, including a documentary on the history of UConn men's basketball; UConn institutional spots to air on CPTV; and potential merchandising opportunities involving UConn-licensed projects.

The contract will generate a minimum of $1.4 million for the University. In addition, the underwriting of game production costs by CPTV as well as various other programming opportunities built into the package are valued at $1.6 million ($400,000 annually).

"During the past several years, Connecticut Public Television has stepped forward as a proud broadcast partner of Connecticut athletics"' said Perkins. "This new four-year agreement makes a strong statement that our working relationship with CPTV continues to grow in a positive fashion. The fans throughout the region will continue to have delivered into their homes the nation's most comprehensive women's basketball television package. We are also pleased that UConn football is included in the live sports television menu on CPTV."

CPTV received an Emmy nomination and recognition from PBS for the production of its "Off The Court" spots which highlighted members of the UConn women's basketball team.

"We believe the magnitude of our commitment to the UConn program has set a new standard for others as they contemplate the potential of women's sports on television," said Larry Rifkin, CPTV executive vice president of programming.

"In our judgement, it is no coincidence that our coverage has been followed by unprecedented interest in women's basketball on both the collegiate and professional levels," he said.

CPTV began its coverage of UConn women's basketball late in the 1993-94 season, covering the championship game of the 1994 Big East Women's Basketball Tournament and televising three UConn women's games in the 1994 NCAA Tourn-ament. In 1994-95, CPTV televised 16 UConn women's basketball games.

More than 16,360 people have pledged their support to CPTV since UConn women's basketball games were first aired on CPTV.