SBD/December 27, 2012/Colleges

Sources: Boise State Eyeing TV Rights; MWC Might Tweak Deal With CBS

Boise State has approached networks to gauge value of home television rights
Boise State is trying to get the Big East and Mountain West Conference to "allow the Broncos to retain their home television rights, to guarantee which conference the school ends up in" for the '13 football season, according to sources cited by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. BSU is "scheduled to leave the Mountain West and join the Big East" in football on July 1. But the school now is "pitting the Big East against the Mountain West in what one industry source called 'a game of chicken' to ensure the Broncos get the most lucrative deal they can." BSU has approached "multiple networks to gauge how much the Broncos could get if they retained their home television rights as a member of the Big East or MWC." Such an arrangement is "unheard of for a conference member." Big East and MWC sources said that "neither league would allow Boise State to keep its home television rights." Meanwhile, CBSSports.com last Friday reported the MWC and CBS "agreed to restructure their television deal." Sources said that that development, plus the "ability of the Mountain West to sell packages to two other networks, could bring the value of the Mountain West's deal to $25 million" (ESPN.com, 12/22). In Boise, Brian Murphy noted the MWC's new contract with CBS gives the network "its first pick of an undisclosed number of games, but allows the league to sell additional TV rights and control its digital rights." CBS previously "controlled all of the league’s rights -- TV and digital." CBS "currently pays" the MWC $8M per season. MWC Deputy Commissioner Bret Gilliland "wouldn't disclose whether that amount would decline under the new agreement." CBS owns the rights "through the 2015-16 season and holds an option for a four-year extension" (IDAHOSTATESMAN.com, 12/23).

RE-WORKING THE DEAL: CBSSPORTS.com's Jeremy Fowler noted the MWC's "restructured television contract with CBS creates an interesting dynamic for 2016, when the network can apply its four-year option to keep the conference's rights until 2020." This is a "reworking of a 10-year deal with CBS that began in 2006-07 and pays a reported $12 million per year." But a source said that the deal "does not affect CBS' four-year option after the deal is up." In other words, the MWC "likely won't be a free agent for another eight years." The MWC "doesn't see this as a bad thing as it works to bolster its portfolio and position itself for more money than its antiquated original deal." The reworked deal is more "inventory for a league that's clearly trying to become the most powerful small conference while the Big East is vulnerable." It also could "free up the conference to profit more off digital rights" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/22).
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