Mountain West Will Continue To Have Late Kickoffs
Like or not you will need some caffeine for Mountain West games
TV networks dictate kick times, unfortunately.
Mountain West kick and tip times have been a topic of late since there are 8 p.m. or later kickoff times for football and basketball has seen games start after 9 p.m. for the conference tournament with about a 16 hour turnaround if they win for the title game.
The topic came up again and Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin was the most vocal.
“Noon. Saturday. Consistently,” Harsin bluntly said.
“Play, be able to go home and watch the other guys go through the misery at the end of the night. […] I am more concerned with non-Saturday games.”
The scheduling gets complicated with late kick times but it is a two-way street. The Mountain West is one of two leagues out West and the TV networks need inventory which is why there are these late times to play college football.
“The exposure is important and you want people to see you,” he said. “Your players want to be on TV. That is one of the things you can talk about in recruiting with your players. ‘Hey, you’re are from California, or from wherever your parents can’t make it up here but they get the chance to see you.’
“Now playing at 8:15 at night and finishing the next day and getting out of there at 2 a.m. is difficult to do.”
Harsin goes on to say how he wants the stadium packed with fans for the stadium to be loud, but that will not be the case when games start at 8 p.m. as families who have other obligations can’t be out until midnight.
With the late kick times and TV dictation comes the money and that is where this odd quib from commissioner Craig Thompson comes in by saying that executives from this network say that they pay more for late kickoffs. If that was the case you’d think the Mountain West could get more than a shade over a million per school per year.
The balance is tough and is real by playing not only late games but also short week games going Saturday and playing either Thursday or Friday the following week is an issue on the team.
Realistically playing all games at noon like Harsin said is not an option in the current TV landscape while being beneficial. The only way that could happen is if the league were to retain all the rights themselves and air games on social media, Watch Stadium or on the Mountain West Network to ensure great start times for games.
The sacrifice for controlling those plume time slots means less money for the league and the Mountain West needs all it can.