BYU’s independence day throws down many hurdles, some of them simple gaffes in the inflexibility of the current TV deal with the Mountain West that has frustrated many programs within the MWC footprint.
Here’s an example.
Remember a few years ago when BYU and San Diego State were involved in a key basketball showdown. It was a game in Provo with championship ramifications, much on the line.
If I remember the details correctly, this game was not televised on The mtn., network because another league game had been scheduled and because it was pre-picked, although it lacked interest and relevance, it was still the featured game. I believe the league’s TV partners CBS-CS and Versus were also locked into programming decisions that day which were made half a year earlier.
As you tuned into Versus, there was some extreme sports show going on. If you tuned into CBS-CS, it was a Lacrosse match or some other strange program between, I think, Lehigh and another Ivy League team.
In a simple word, this was dumb, very dumb.
Nobody in San Diego could tune in and watch the Cougars and Aztecs go at it. Nobody who follows the Cougars could see the game unless they were in the Marriott Center that night.
This game could not be picked up by KSL-TV or KJZZ or any other local TV station because the rights belonged to the TV partners of the MWC and they could not air the game because of commitments that had been planned way before the season started.
This is one prime example of BYU’s argument for years that the contract needed to be looked at and tweaked. It was not.
BYU’s independence declaration remedies this. Games that should be seen will be on ESPN, a local network for commercial purposes or it will be available to 50 million nationally on both satellite platforms and some 600 cable networks. And it will likely be in HD with the flick of a switch.
If you understand the issues involved in that BYU-SDSU basketball game, you will be able to easily digest a very complex issue and why BYU wants independence for 1. exposure, 2. control, and 3. increased TV revenue.