Mountain West Schools Could Pay A Buyout of Up To $33 Million
The conference has a buyout if teams leave
It will cost a lot to leave the Mountain West
Conference realignment hit hard when UCLA and USC bolted for the Big Ten. Since then there have been talks about mergers, sharing a TV network and some schools trying to assert some muscle or leverage for more money.
The Mountain West is pretty static at the moment with no real need or urgency to go after teams to the conference, and there has only been speculation about if a Mountain West team could really help the Pac-12 if they expand.
One interesting note during Mountain West football media days came when commissioner Craig Thompson joined KSL Sports Zone in Salt Lake and said there is a buyout within the league.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Thompson said if a team doesn’t want to be here then why should we keep them around or force them to pay a penalty.
Thompson and the league has smartened up and there is an exit fee of $16.5 million if a team gives over a year’s notice but that number is doubled to $33 million if it is one year or less notice.
That could give a slight pause for teams to leave the conference because if a Mountain West team goes to a conference where the media rights deal is around $30 million or per year, then leaving and paying that amount makes sense.
That exit fee would help offset any loss in TV revenue money at least for a few years. The Mountain West currently pays out just over $4 million per year, so that $16.5 or $33 million would help for a short amount of time while a new deal is struck.
Teams are going to leave if they want, so at least the Mountain West can get a few bucks for those who could be going to a new conference.