Blog Entry

No change in Mountain West TV contracts

Posted on: January 26, 2011 6:59 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 7:02 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's been plenty of news to come out of the Mountain West's presidents meeting this week, most of which are covered here by the Idaho Statesman's Chad Crippe following a discussion with commissioner Craig Thompson. To recap: the TCU-Boise State game will be moved to Boise; the conference won't invite Utah State and San Jose State to join, despite reports to the contrary, and looks set at 10 teams for the foreseeable future; and various scheduling details have been ironed out, like placing the TCU-Boise marquee matchup at season's end and giving each team two rivalry games that won't rotate off the eight-game schedule.

But one detail from Crippe's report shouldn't escape notice, even among the expansion madness and TCU-Boise brouhaha:
[Thompson] did not collect bids from the TV partners based on an expanded league. “Because I didn’t know specifically who we’d be talking about,” he said ... The Mountain West is talking only with its current TV partners. Colorado State president Tony Frank told The Coloradoan that he doesn’t expect the TV money to change significantly from the current $12 million per year.
So no new television partners, and no major changes to a contract that runs through the 2015-2016 season? That's not what fans of the Mountain West want to hear, not when that contract offers the entire conference some $3 million less than ESPN is paying Texas by itself for the forthcoming "Longhorn Network."

The lack of television exposure (despite MWC games airing weekly on the excellent CBS College Sports, now in 94 million homes !) and, more importantly, television money is explicitly what's driven league mainstay BYU into football independence, and severely hampered the conference's efforts to keep other departed members Utah and TCU. While the MWC doesn't appear to be in any further danger of having its current 10 teams poached by larger leagues, that San Diego State and the Big 12 have had some measure of contact shows that that danger isn't entirely passed.

And besides: every year the MWC accepts relative peanuts while the Texases of the world get fatter and fatter on their TV deals, the gap between the conference and the BCS gate they want so desperately to crash will only widen. In short, a new, richer TV contract will be a key part of the MWC's long-term success ... and if it's not on the immediate horizon, it's fair to question how high the ceiling on that success can rise.

Since: Jan 8, 2009
Posted on: January 27, 2011 11:31 am

No change in Mountain West TV contracts

I think that you are right when you say that staying at 10 teams is a gamble for the conference.  The two of additional teams would have certainly brought about a chance of additional televison revenue and expanded the conferences exposure.  I think that the MWC made a bad decison

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: January 27, 2011 9:24 am

No change in Mountain West TV contracts

The MWC made a huge mistake by not negotiating a new T.V. contract.  Texas had a terible season last year, and did not even make a bowl game, yet those worthless bunch of excuse makers get more money than the entire MWC.  This looks like the MWC is playing a dangerous game.  They are rolling the dice to see if the Big 12-2 collapese in the next two seasons.  While that is certainly possible, if the Big 12-2 somehow manages to survive, the MWC is left out in the cold. 

Staying at 10 teams is also a major gamble.  Again, this is all obviously based on what may happen to the Big 12-2.  It appears that the MWC wants to be in a position to grab the six remaining survivors if the Big 12-2 crumbles, giving the MWC instant AQ status.  That is a huge gamble.  Just because the MWC will have both Nevada teams in it's conference in 2012 does not mean that they have to roll the dice when it comes to their future.

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: January 26, 2011 8:02 pm

Mountain West should be thrilled with their TV

The Mountain West "contract offers the entire conference some $3 million less than ESPN is paying Texas by itself for the forthcoming "Longhorn Network.""

Well, sure.  Texas "by itself" draws far more viewers than the entire MWC combined.  More people will watch Texas baseball games on the Longhorn Network than MWC football games on any channel. 

The Mountain West is very fortunate to get as much money as they are getting.  Really, Comcast is overpaying the Mountain West, considering that after Utah, BYU, and TCU leave, MWC football will be nothing but "Boise State and the 9 Dwarves".

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or