The league is also very proud of the new "MAAC Experience" exhibit that we open today in the Hall of Fame. The MAAC experience represents some 30 years of recent league basketball history and also the players and athletes that came before the formation of the MAAC. It is the story of 10 schools bound together by a very simple mission, that being to "Provide Excellence in Academics and Athletics". That mission is very much ongoing and is best expressed in the part of the new exhibit dedicated to the "Student-Athlete Experience"
The "Student-Athlete Experience" allows the league's best spokespeople, the MAAC basketball players, to explain why they love the game, how they manage their day in terms of school, basketball, study, diet and competition, and how they will use the skills learned on the basketball court and in the classroom to excel in life. It is a wonderful explanation of their commitment to the MAAC mission, and the league membership is proud of these young men and women.
This year's marketing theme is titled the Edge of Glory. It reflects that the MAAC is dynamic conference, still young in the world of basketball with a bright future ahead of it in college sports. I believe that to be the case. In the last year, the league has committed itself to a neutral-site championship and to the City of Springfield and the MassMutual Center as its host arena. Since that decision was made, the local organizing committee has been working tirelessly on rolling out marketing plans, events and seeking partner sponsors to work with the MAAC to make the a successful hosting venture for all the parties involved. MAAC-achusetts is very much alive and well.
In the last month, the MAAC has also announced a new six-year agreement with ESPN that I believe positions the league to grow a national audience through our ESPN3 Thursday night Game of the Week broadcast platform and the Friday night ESPNU Game of the Week. The agreement also continues the league's relations with ESPN as host of the Old Spice Classic at Walt Disney World with a yearly participating team (this year it is Fairfield) and all teams in participation in the ESPN BracketBusters event in February.
The MAAC has also transitioned strongly into an aggressive posture in terms of servicing our fans through the MAAC.TV network that was announced earlier this fall. We are committed to providing our fans with up-to-the-minute news on their teams through all the various social media platforms, certainly demonstrated today through our twitter feeds. It is a new world, one in which the league is using more and more for the benefit of our members.
In a time of much league realignment in our business, the MAAC homogenous nature, a common commitment to sports and to academics, has served us well. We continue to invest in the core product of MAAC basketball and our presidents have been in the midst of upgrading our playing facilities to meet 21st century student-athlete, coaches and fan needs. All of this has positioned the league well to attract members if opportunities present themselves without needing to seek member schools just as a function of numbers.
The MAAC is certainly on the Edge of Glory.