BYUtv: Q&A, ESPN, Part 1

This is the first part in a 4,000-word question and answer session with BYUtv executive director Derek Marquis.

Because of the length, I’ve broken it down in four segments in this blog. This is the first installment and I’ll put the second installment up later today.

Q. There has been a lot of talk about which games will be on ESPN, which will be on BYUtv, BYU Radio and so forth and there seems to be a bit of confusion as to how many games BYUtv will really have and whether your rebroadcasts will be the ESPN shows or a BYUtv produced show. Can you settle that once and for all?

A. Sure, ESPN’s contract with BYU stipulates that ESPN will carry at least four games during football season and that BYUtv will get live broadcast rights to those home games that ESPN doesn’t carry. ESPN reserves the right to carry more than four, but BYUtv is always guaranteed at least one. This year, with the buzz surrounding independence and Jake Heaps, ESPN has picked up all the games except for two. One of those is the game BYUtv will air live, Idaho State, and the other is the Oregon State game, to which the Pac-12 controls the rights. It is certainly possible that the Oregon State game could end up on ESPN or another national carrier and that BYUtv could obtain rebroadcast rights for that game. However, sometimes rights holders don’t allow TV rebroadcasts for a week or more after the game.

As for our rebroadcasts, for home games we’ll air a BYUtv produced game at 9:30pm on game night or whenever the ESPN broadcast ends,” whichever later. In other words, we won’t step on the live ESPN broadcast with our broadcast. It wouldn’t make sense to. People will be watching the ESPN game. Our games will be called by Dave McCann and Blaine Fowler. For away games, it gets more complicated for a variety of factors ranging from venue limitations on the number of broadcast teams they can support to the economic realities of producing an away game. So for away games, BYUtv will air the ESPN produced game for the rebroadcast.

Q. There’s been talk about BYUtv doing a game day type pregame show. True?

A. Yes, and we’re really excited about it. We’ll do an hour pre-game live on BYUtv counting down to kickoff. We’ll actually call the show, Countdown to Kickoff. It’ll be hosted by Dave McCann and Alema Harrington and will be live from Lavell Edwards Stadium for home games and live from BYUtv’s Studios in the new broadcast building for away games. For the studio shows we’ll also have a live studio audience so that will be a lot of fun for fans who want to be a part of the action. Just before kickoff we’ll let viewers know they can switch over to watch the game on ESPN or whichever ESPN channel is carrying it and then invite them back after the game for a live post-game show including the postgame press conference with Bronco Mendenhall.

Q. So you’re actually going to tell viewers to turn the channel away from BYUtv?

A. Of course. And even if we didn’t they still would, right? We’re not competing with ESPN.”never will. We are partners with ESPN. They may even do a break-in during our show with a tease for the game coming up on ESPN. We’ll actually have a countdown clock on the screen during our show so fans know exactly how long before the game gets underway. If we put on a great show, fans of both BYU and the teams we are playing will quickly learn about our broadcasts and BYUtv will become a pregame destination. Those listening to the game on the radio will listen to Greg Wrubell on KSL Radio just as I always do driving into the stadium and those watching from home will watch BYUtv’s pregame show.

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