New TV deal ensures exposure for Mountain West hoops
CBS, FOX will carry as many as 75 basketball games
The new agreement lays out a more prominent platform for Mountain West basketball
Last week, the Mountain West announced a new television rights deal with CBS and FOX that will pay the league a total of $270 million for the rights to broadcast its football and men’s basketball games. Though the league did not disclose the specifics of how the rights fees would be split between the two networks, CBS Sports will remain the primary broadcast partner for the conference.
The six-year deal goes into effect at the beginning of the next college football season and runs through the 2026 men’s basketball campaign.
The most significant aspects of this massive joint venture pertain to the gridiron. In addition to football being the major source of value in the deal for all parties, the MW also has two very unique situations at Boise State and Hawai’i that pertain only to the football programs at those schools.
But while football may be what brought everybody to the table, the inclusion of the TV rights for men’s basketball should not be overlooked.
The deal not only lines the coffers of the conference for years to come, but it also ensures increased exposure for men’s hoops. To that end, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson was quick to dispel the notion that basketball was an afterthought in the agreement.
“Basketball is a valuable commodity to the Mountain West and was an important part of these negotiations,” Thompson noted during the media call announcing the deal.
Dan Weinberg, executive vice president of CBS Sports, echoed those sentiments.
“There was absolutely an emphasis placed on the high-quality basketball that’s played across the league,” Weinberg said, adding that the sport was “forefront in the discussions” and “absolutely part of the process.”
The result of that process is that CBS and FOX will now combine to show as many as 75 games across all platforms.
The deal guarantees that 32 regular-season Mountain West games will be shown on either CBS or CBS Sports Network. The network will also have the option to select 10 games for its burgeoning digital arm, CBS All Access. Importantly, the network will be able to select what it considers to be the 12 best games to add to its programming schedule.
At least two games will be broadcast annually on CBS’ flagship network television channel, under the terms of the agreement. This is up from zero broadcast games under the current media rights deal.
The Mountain West Championship Game will continue to be broadcast on CBS, though an interesting wrinkle in the new deal offers the network a way out of that obligation.
The deal stipulates that the contest “must be played on NCAA Tournament selection weekend.” That clause may have been spurred by the unusual circumstances of the 2020 MWC Tournament, which will be played one week earlier than normal due to the massive 2020 Conexpo-Con/Agg in Las Vegas the week of Selection Sunday.