ESPN, Mountain West Conference Finalizing Seven-Year Deal For Football, Men's Hoops
ESPN and the Mountain West Conference are "finalizing a seven-year media rights deal for the network to televise up to 22 football games and 25 men's basketball games annually," according to sources cited by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. Sources said that when combined with the MWC's current media deal with CBS Sports Network, this "brings the total value" of the conference's rights deals to about $116M, or $18M annually. Boise State Univ.'s six home games "will be included" in the 22 football games (ESPN.com, 3/7). In San Diego, Mark Zeigler reports the per-school payout is "not as simple as dividing $18 million by 11 (basketball members) or 12 (football members)." A large amount "will be calved off in individual game bonuses that are part of Boise State's agreement to stay in the Mountain West." Schools will get a $300,000 bonus "each time they play a football game on ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, NBC or Fox, plus another $200,000 if it's on a Saturday." With ESPN airing all Boise State home games, that means "as much as $6 million ... could go to bonuses for the Broncos and the visiting team." The new deal adds the "cachet of ESPN telecasts," but primary rights holders CBS and CBSSN "retain first pick of the best games." ESPN can "move some inventory to ESPNU" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/8). In Reno, Dan Hinxman reports the MWC still is in "negotiations for the media rights for the conference championship football game," which will debut this season. That will "add to the media-right coffers" (RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL, 3/8).