New Multiyear Deal With ESPN Will Cement BYU's Independence
BYU AD Tom Holmoe said that the school and ESPN have "agreed in principle to another multiyear contract," according to Mark Zeigler of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Holmoe added that the TV portion of the deal "has been settled; they're finalizing the bowl details." When BYU left the Mountain West in '11, it "signed an eight-year contract with an option for a ninth with ESPN to televise home games as an independent and annually send the Cougars to ESPN-owned bowls." ESPN picked up the option for '19. Holmoe said that the ESPN contract "contains an out clause should the Cougars land an invitation from a power conference, which they have already tried, and failed, with the Big 12." Compared to conference membership, the "money has been better" for BYU under its ESPN deal, with estimates of $6M-plus per year. Holmoe: "The money is better but that's not the reason we did it." Rather, the reasons are "exposure" and "access for BYUtv." Whether this model has worked "depends on whom you ask." BYUtv "has thrived, broadcasting 120 live sports events per year and helping grow the Cougar brand nationally." School officials said that internal surveys "indicate the majority of alums and fans favor independence." And the "gloomy predictions about football scheduling never materialized." The problem has been "less scheduling games than winning them, and independence becomes a convenient scapegoat" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/30).