SBD/July 26, 2012/Media

Mountain West's Thompson Wants To Establish A Digital Presence For The Conference

Thompson said the MWC will now lose $4M in annual income with The Mtn. shut down
Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson "hopes to establish a digital presence for the league so games will be available on smartphones and tablet computers," according to Mark Anderson of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. CBS owns the conference's "digital rights, and Thompson would like to acquire those rights to earn extra revenue now that The Mtn. and its $4 million annual income are gone." The league will receive $12M "from CBS this year, far shy of what major conferences make." Thompson at yesterday's conference media days said, "We're in about 5 (percent) to 7 percent of U.S. homes. We're not going to garner an annual $200 million TV contract. What we're going to do is become very creative." Though Thompson said that The Mtn. "was an excellent idea, the execution of launching the network devoted exclusively to conference sports was greatly flawed." Of The Mtn.'s co-Owners CBS and Comcast, he added, "Neither one wanted to make the financial investment to make it into what it could have become. It was a textbook example of how not to do a network in that you have two equal, 50 percent owners" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 7/26).

BIGGER IDEA: Thompson in May said that the MWC's decision to expand and C-USA's addition of five schools was "Phase One of a larger plan." He said yesterday that, more importantly, it was "a decision by both conferences to take care of their own before moving forward with any type of merger." Thompson said the league’s presidents have also "started to shy away from the idea of moving themselves from a western-based league to a national one." He added that he "hoped to have the league’s remaining TV schedule for this season done by Wednesday, but it’s not quite ready." Thompson said that the league "would put at least 30 additional games on either regional or local stations" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/26).
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