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ESPN set to retain Big East TV rights

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NEW YORK (AP) - ESPN is set to retain the television rights to the Big East after matching a contract offer that the conference had from another network.

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Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco says in a statement the conference presidents still must approve the deal, but that ``the ESPN and the Big East will continue, for years to come, their long-term relationship, which began in 1980.''

ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys posted on Twitter: ``ESPN has matched an offer for the Big East and we look forward to continuing our relationship.''

Neither side was providing details, but a person familiar with the situation had previously told the AP that NBC had offered a six-year deal worth about $20 million annually for the TV rights to Big East sports.

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