SBD/Closing Bell

Sources: CBS Sports Network, Comcast Shutting Down The Mtn.

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The cable channel created for the Mountain West Conference – the Mtn – is shutting down and will go dark May 31, sources said. The channel's 44 employees were informed of the decision late this afternoon during a meeting at their Denver HQs. Sources indicate that CBS Sports Network and the Mountain West Conference are close to finalizing a deal for the conference's rights that will wind up increasing national distribution for the Mountain West's upcoming football and basketball games. CBS Sports Network is in around 45 million homes. Jointly owned by CBS Sports Network and NBC Universal, the Mtn is in around 13 million homes.

Station VP/Production & Programming Steve Hurlbut led this afternoon's meeting, where employees were told that they would get a severance package and will be given priority for open jobs at NBC Sports’ RSNs, such as Comcast SportsNet Houston, which is launching in October and in the process of filling more than 100 open positions. The Mtn launched in '06 as the first cable channel devoted to a single college conference. Over the years, the channel provided exposure for the conference, producing 38,000 hours of coverage in total.

The moves make sense given the uncertainty surrounding the Mountain West Conference, which is forming some sort of business alliance with Conference USA. Plus, some of the conference's premiere teams – such as BYU, Utah and TCU – have left the conference over the past few years.
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