NBC Sports and the Bayou Classic have agreed to a three-year media rights extension through 2024, both parties announced today.
The new agreement — which kicks off this year with the 49th annual Bayou Classic as Southern and Grambling State renew their storied football rivalry on Saturday, Nov. 26 on NBC and Peacock — extends a historic partnership which began in 1991.
NBC Sports’ presentation of the Bayou Classic will continue to showcase the Battle of the Bands, the celebrated tradition between the Southern and Grambling State marching bands, during the Bayou Classic Halftime Show.
“We’re excited to continue this 30-plus year partnership with the Bayou Classic,” said Gary Quinn, VP, Programming, NBC Sports. “We’re eager to amplify the great legacy of the Bayou Classic and the HBCU mission by showcasing this year’s game on NBC and Peacock, and we’re equally looking forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of this historic rivalry in 2023.”
As part of the extension, Southern and Grambling State will participate in professional development programming through NBCU Academy – a journalism training and development program designed to prepare college students and young professionals for careers in the news and media technology industry. Additionally, NBC Sports will present select journalism students from both Southern and Grambling the opportunity to cover the event for NBCSports.com.
Students at Southern and Grambling State will also have access to NBC Sports’ Black Employee Network (BEN), which seeks to foster and grow a strong Black employee base throughout NBCUniversal.
“A huge thanks to NBC for bringing the Bayou Classic tradition of college football to national television,” said Dennis Shields, President-Chancellor, Southern University System. “What began as a one-year agreement in 1991 to introduce the Bayou Classic to a worldwide audience, has spanned 32 years and allowed millions of viewers all over the world to be a part of this HBCU showcase. In addition to highlighting the talents of our student-athletes, coaches, and marching bands, the new extension agreement’s added opportunities for SU and GSU communications students to participate in professional development, training, and key networking opportunities, are invaluable.”
“It was no small feat returning to New Orleans last year for what proved to be an exciting game,” said Rick Gallot, Grambling State University President. “With the debut of Coach Hue Jackson, a motivated group of G-Men, World Famed Tiger Marching band, exhilarating cheerleaders, and passionate GramFam, we look forward to sharing the Bayou Classic experience with viewers across the country.”
“The importance of this partnership extends well beyond the football field,” said Damon Phillips, SVP Strategic Initiatives and Head of Diversity & Inclusion, NBC Sports. “The Bayou Classic has become a tentpole for our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program, and we’re excited to continue to work with Southern and Grambling State to educate students on careers in journalism and media, while offering hands-on experience opportunities.”
The Bayou Classic rivalry is tied all-time, with Southern and Grambling each winning 24 games since the series began in 1974.