Mountain West Weighing Alternatives As Next Media-Rights Deal Approaches
The Mountain West has three years left on its football contract with ESPN and CBS Sports Net, and as officials ponder their next move, the conference is "experimenting with alternatives to traditional broadcasting and weighing whether filling all those late TV windows is worth the money its members are making," according to Ralph Russo of the AP. MWC schools are making "about" $1.1M from their deals with ESPN, CBSSN and AT&T SportsNet. Colorado State AD Joe Parker said, "It's great to be aligned with a linear broadcaster, but what we've seen, too, is that impacts with our localized fanbase." Parker: "The thing that I'm concerned about is if we start moving our games off Saturday or if we start ending up in the 8 (p.m. local) or later time slot, that's going to have impacts on fans wanting to attend in venue." MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson said that the conference is "crunching numbers to get a better handle of how scheduling for TV impacts other revenue sources." Thompson: "It's not priceless, but what is the value of a national television game for recruiting purposes? The national exposure that those games generate is worth something. They're in roughly a quarter of a million homes. What does that mean?" Russo noted the other challenge for Thompson "comes from within." Thompson said that while CSU, Wyoming and the four other schools in the Mountain Time Zone "tend to cringe at those late kickoffs, the schools in the Pacific Time Zone don't mind them as much." To keep Boise State, the MWC "agreed to a deal that guaranteed the school more appearances on ESPN and more TV revenue than the other schools." The agreement "calls for the rights to Boise State's home games to be negotiated separately from the rest of the conference" (AP, 11/13).