Mountain West Conference, ESPN Agree To TV Deal

By Rich Kurtzman
Brian Losness – USA Today Sports

There’s a new deal between the Mountain West and TV sports’ best, ESPN.

The MWC announced Wednesday a deal between the college athletic conference and ESPN to broadcast 22 football and 25 men’s basketball games annually on the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.”

While financial details aren’t clear as of now, it was first reported by ESPN that the deal will be for seven years. Along with CBS Sports Network, who has a deal with the MW to run through 2019-20, the conference is set to bring in around $116 million, or $18 M annually.

As part of the agreement, ESPN will hold the rights to the Boise State Broncos home games, while CBSS will have the Broncos’ road contests. Each will pick multiple other high-profile games to broadcast each week, up to 44 football games and 56 men’s basketball games per year.

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

Thompson is right; all of this is great news for a conference that is continually trying to prove they should be considered one of the best in each sport. Now, their games will be broadcast nationally, to some 90 million households, many of them far away from the regionally specific locales the schools call home.

The east coast, with its massive population bases, will now be able to see not only Boise, but the great play of the San Diego State Aztecs, Utah State Aggies, Nevada Wolf Pack and more fun football teams.

Once they witness what we’ve got going on out here in the Wild West, football fans will quickly realize the conference contains great schools, rivalries, coaches and traditions.

When it comes to basketball, the MW has already made a name for itself, being the No. 1 conference in terms of RPI. Five teams – the New Mexico Lobos, Colorado State Rams, UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, San Diego State and Boise State – made the NCAA Tournament, a first for the league.

The basketballers have already gained respect nationally; this TV deal will only help to grow the brand of the league. The same goes for football teams who are building winning programs but don’t earn their due because national media members couldn’t watch the games in the past.

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