2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Mountain West and ESPN reach broadcasting deal

Published: March 20, 2013, 2:27 pm, by Brent Briggeman

The bounce-back of the Mountain West, which just months ago teetered on the brink of irrelevance with the looming losses of Boise State and San Diego State, took another step on Monday with announcement of a TV deal with ESPN.

CBS Sports Network remains the primary rights holder and will have first pick of games to broadcast. From Air Force’s perspective, that might not be so bad as ESPN and its family of networks would then have second choice. The Falcons might be more likely to fall to that second pick, but even a secondary ESPN network might find more eyeballs than the CBSSN.

Oh, and if you hadn’t heard, Boise State and San Diego State aren’t going anywhere. For the Broncos, their motivation to stay becomes more clear with every new broadcasting deal that includes special language for their program.

It remains to be seen how the full logistics of this deal play out. Below is the full press release from the Mountain West on Wednesday:


Mountain West Signs National Television Deal with ESPN  

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Mountain West Conference announced it has reached agreement with ESPN to be a national television rights holder for Conference-controlled football and men’s basketball games. The agreement, which begins with the 2013-14 season, was announced by Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, college sports and Craig Thompson, MW Commissioner.  Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

CBS Sports Network remains the primary rights holder for the Mountain West. As part of this new agreement, CBS Sports Network and ESPN will alternate game selections (after initial picks by CBSSN) in football and men’s basketball with ESPN controlling the rights to Boise State home football games. CBS Sports Network retains the rights to Bronco road football contests.

“The Mountain West looks forward to rejoining the ESPN networks beginning with our 15th season this fall,” said MW Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Coupled with CBS Sports Network, we anticipate tremendous national exposure over several outlets as the league continues its growth and development.”

“The Mountain West Conference and its member schools are committed to competitive excellence in intercollegiate athletics, and we think the strength of our programs on the courts and fields reflect this commitment,” said Dr. Anthony A. Frank, Chair of the MW Board of Directors and President, Colorado State University. “We’re also committed to providing our student-athletes, alumni and fans national access to our competitions, and we believe this agreement with ESPN is a further step in ensuring this availability and increasing our visibility to fans of college athletics nation-wide.”

Between the two networks, up to 44 football and 56 men’s basketball games will be televised annually on their various platforms. The CBS Sports Network and ESPN agreements are scheduled to run concurrently through 2019-20.

The Mountain West is in the process of negotiating an agreement for the inaugural MW Football Championship Game with CBS Sports Network, and has retained rights to sell additional packages on the MW Digital Network and to regional/local carriers.