SBD/Issue 241/Sports Media

Western Athletic Conference Launches WAC Sports Network


The WAC "launched its own television network Friday designed to grant more exposure to its teams," according to Daniel Lyght of the FRESNO BEE. The WAC Sports Network "will boost the league's visibility to 15 total regional markets in California, Hawaii, Nevada, Idaho, Washington and Louisiana." Fresno State and Nevada are planning to leave the WAC for the Mountain West Conference, but Fresno State Associate AD for Broadcasting & External Relations Paul Ladwig said that the "one-year television arrangement will not affect the number of Fresno State football and basketball games seen on TV or the amount of money the school will spend on broadcasts." Ladwig added that the deal for the TV net is "expected to bring in the same amount of money for Fresno State, but since the school will sacrifice some WAC revenue because it's leaving the league, it is an issue that still needs to be addressed." Meanwhile, Lyght noted news of the syndicated network comes "amid further signs" that Fresno State and Nevada want out "as soon as possible." WAC Commissioner Karl Benson Friday said that he "received notice from Fresno State of its desire to leave the league for the Mountain West Conference before next fall," and Nevada President Milt Glick said that he "has sent a letter to the WAC stating the school's plans to leave by then as well" (FRESNO BEE, 8/28). In Boise, Chadd Cripe noted the WAC Sports Network will air as many as 15 football games and "also will be used for basketball games." The TV agreement is "between the WAC, Learfield Sports and TV stations throughout the WAC footprint" (IDAHO STATESMAN, 8/28).

INDEPENDENT SPIRIT: In Salt Lake City, Jay Drew reports "indications abound that Brigham Young University is still doggedly pursuing a plan to go independent in football and has been in simultaneous membership negotiations with both the Western Athletic Conference and the West Coast Conference for the rest of its non football sports teams." E-mails and internal documents that surfaced Sunday indicated that Benson had "preliminary discussions with ESPN in June in which the television sports giant indicated a WAC-BYU agreement might result in a 300 percent increase in television revenue over the roughly $500,000 per school currently being received by WAC institutions" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 8/30).

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