Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The real winners & losers of the new MWC/ ESPN TV deal

Most sports fans new that CBS Sports sold a secondary deal of conference games back to the MWC last year and said they could sale those games to any provider they chose too. Most people knew that deal included all the Boise State home games in order to keep Boise in the conference. Most people even suspected that ESPN was the lead contender for the new conference package. Today it all came to fruition.

"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."

So who are the winners and losers of this new deal? I'm sure we all have our opinions.

1) Boise State
As part of the new deal, every Boise State home football game will be shown on the ESPN Networks through 2019. Let's be honest. Everyone has been keeping track of Boise, love them or hate them, since their victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Boise was one of the original BCS busters, and they've had great success and are usually one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the nation offensively. To have a minimum of 6 games a year on ESPN, the network that built Boise State up as the king of the mid-tier FBS schools, is huge for the Broncos.

2) San Diego State
The new deal lets ESPN and CBS Sports Network rotate with the priority game every week. San Diego State has been the uprising danger since BYU, Utah, and TCU left. The deal is huge for the Aztecs in basketball more so than football. Since the deal doesn't call for a minimum number of appearances and a maximum number of appearances for any team, San Diego State could all of the sudden see 5 or 6 basketball games on ESPN instead of ROOT Sports or Time Warner Cable. I'd be so bold as to predict that a minimum of 2 San Diego State football games will make ESPN each year as well.

3) BYU
Say what? BYU isn't in the MWC. How would they come out as one of the winners here? Last time I checked, BYU is scheduled to play Boise State, Utah State, Nevada, and UNLV in upcoming seasons. BYU has a contract with ESPN. Would it be farfetched to think that ESPN uses some of their priority picks to get BYU road MWC games? Frankly the only team scheduled to play BYU from the MWC that this isn't a big winner for is UNLV. UNLV is consistently horrendous in football. Still, an additional 2 to 3 road games for BYU being on the ESPN Networks is a big win for BYU. It could easily make it where BYU has a minimum of 10 appearances on ESPN Networks a year.

1) Hawaii
The Warriors don't get any money from the new deal. In fact all this does is make it where they may have to spend more money to cover road games for Oceanic each year. ESPN has had a history of picking up late night Hawaii games for ESPN2 & ESPNU. While the additional exposure on ESPN is good for the Warriors, having to spend extra money to cover road games could easily hurt Oceanic Time Warner even if it doesn't hurt the University themselves.

2) Wyoming
Yes, I'm going to put Wyoming on this list. The new contract doesn't give any team a minimum or maximum number of appearances on any network. Wyoming was the lone team to not have some sort of local TV carrier last year. While this may put 1 or 2 Wyoming games on national TV, it doesn't help them be resolved in terms of their schools carriage.

3) San Jose State
The Spartans are an upcoming young team, but in the space of 1 years time they'll have lost their coach, a minimum number of appearances on ESPN, and frankly could very well be at the back of the pack with UNLV in terms of football strength. No guaranteed appearances doesn't help a team that didn't have any carrier show their home games last year outside of ESPN Networks.

Could I be wrong about this? Of course I could. However this is just an opinion, and I invite all of you to share your thoughts as well.

You can read more about the new MWC/ ESPN TV deal at the MWC website  and at ESPN Media Zone.

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