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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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First Came the March Madness Cinderella Run. Then Came the Media Deal.

  • Fairleigh Dickinson has inked a deal with YES Network to broadcast six men’s and two women’s basketball games.
  • It’s FDU’s first-ever school media rights agreement — that wouldn’t have been possible without its March Madness Cinderella run.
Seven months after its Cinderella March Madness run, Fairleigh Dickinson has inked a school-specific media deal.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Fairleigh Dickinson men’s basketball captured the nation’s attention last season when they upset Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament — becoming only the second No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed.

Seven months later, the athletic department parlayed that success into a historic media rights agreement.

The Knights have inked a deal with YES Network to broadcast eight basketball games — two women’s and six men’s — during the 2023-24 season. 

The agreement is FDU’s first-ever school-specific media rights deal, which will allow the school to play home non-conference games on linear television for the first time in its history. While YES Network, home of the New York Yankees, is a local RSN, it has exposure across the country both on linear and digital platforms.

“After our men’s basketball team captivated the nation during March Madness and our women’s basketball program reached the WNIT for the second-straight season, we’re thrilled to seize the moment,” FDU athletic director Bradford Hurlbut said.

FDU’s director of athletic media relations Jordan Sarnoff — who went viral for being FDU’s lone media rights specialist as a full-time student during its Cinderella run — spearheaded the deal. Now a senior, Sarnoff has been working on the agreement since May.

Sarnoff declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, telling Front Office Sports: “The financial value for us is the exposure.” 

“We’re being really meticulous as to how we program these basically two-hour infomercials,” he said, noting that the broadcasts will include interviews with professors and the university president. The school has invested extra into the broadcast quality of the games, which they consider a marketing expense.

The first game of the deal, set to broadcast on Nov. 15, will feature the men’s team playing against a local rival and fellow Cinderella story: Saint Peter’s.

“Without March Madness,” Sarnoff said, “this wouldn’t happen.” 

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