While the decision is back in the hands of BYU in what they want to do (MWC link) Craig Thompson can not just sit back and do nothing he needs to put together something that will entice BYU to come back. I am not sure if money or broadcasting games on BYU-TV is more important, but to me money trumps all since who knows how much money they can make from BYU-TV. One thing BYU can do to perhaps get more money from the league would be to perhaps rent out their HD trucks when any of the three networks come to town. Not sure if that would save CBS College, The Mtn, or Versus any money but is just a thought to throw out there.
Craig Thompson or someone from the league needs to sit down with BYU and show them the numbers to prove that they are on track to gain a BCS bid. There is good reason to believe the Mountain West will end the season with at least two teams in the top 15 (once you include Boise) and with TCU possibly in a BCS bowl game once again or at worst they would be around the top 12. Plus, the bottom of the league in San Diego State looks to be on the uptick and is looking to have better a better year and challenge for a bowl game. If the Mountain West keeps up their current pace in 2010 and 2011 once Boise State arrives the bid should come, because the ACC currently is not set to qualify automatically but will keep their bid due to their Orange Bowl contract (I know I have said this a million times but is worth mentioning again since no one is).
With the ACC possibly not set to get in automatically and the Mountain West being on par and with the possibility of the Mountain West being a bit higher but not qualified themselves there is no way that they would not gain an auto bid through the petition process. If for somehow they were denied by the BCS every Congressman who had a beef with the BCS would be charging Bill Hancock and the BCS offices with pitchforks for an explanation in that front. Being a BCS league would bring in an extra $20 plus million to the league and depending on the team that qualified an extra million or so would be in the bank per school.
That is point one that should be presented to BYU as a reason to not leave the league, plus there is good incentive for Comcast to put the Mtn and CBS College on a more basic tier if the Mountain West is able to become a BCS league. Comcast has 23 million subscribers across the country and should want to promote a channel that has BCS qualification and that in return would again increase money paid out to each team. Also, if a title game is ever constructed by adding Houston or maybe even UTEP that would bring in extra cash to the league and again increase the money BYU makes.
Getting the Mtn. on in Dallas is another issue that has halted the progress of the league. Dallas is a top five market and the channel can get on basic cable their it would help that out. However, adding Fresno is a good move which is the 55th market, Reno is I believe is around the size of Boise and does not bring too much in that direction, but if they can grab Houston which is another top five market and get the channel on basic DirecTV and Comcast that is just another plus for BYU to stay. I know Houston sports are not high on the list since it is a pro town, Texas, Texas A&M, and possibly a Texas Tech town before Houston; however getting the channel just on a good tier is a good thing. Also, having lived in Houston there are a lot of BYU fans in the area which would at least give them the chance to see BYU play on a regular basis with The Mtn. being on a basic tier.
The television deal allows to re-negotiate when teams are added or subtracted from the league so it is not as if adding these teams just cuts the small pie even smaller. I would be pretty confident that with the addition of these teams and possibly Houston or any twelfth member would increase rights, plus just how well the league performs within the rankings and making BCS bowl games should also be mentioned when the television deal will be redone with the loss of Utah and additions of Boise State, Nevada, and Fresno State.
One huge thing that zero people are mentioning besides me is the mega merger between GE and Comcast. GE owns NBC Universal and with Comcast now being a majority owner over NBC Universal this can parlay bigger things for the league. The Mtn may finally be put on Dish Network and there could also perhaps be games on NBC to supplement Notre Dame games and that money obviously would be more. Plus, the fact that CBS is showing an over the air basketball game is an indicator that football could be next. Putting games regularly on CBS or even NBC would be a huge coup and couple that with being a BCS automatic league that should demand perhaps $5 to $10 million per team.
The short team is to be what BYU is worried about and these things that I mentioned are at least one year down the road when Boise joins and the a few more when looking into the BCS and getting games on CBS. Craig Thompson and the league may have to give up a football game or two to BYU and with eleven teams that may not be too much a big deal with the extra games to be used as inventory. That money BYU gets from gaining rights to two games a year may be two million on the high end, and who knows if the league will give in to allowing BYU to show Texas or other big name opponents on BYU's network and allow them to keep the money.
The main thing is for Comcast to step up and make an offer to keep BYU, because the Mountain West and Comcast need BYU more then BYU needs them.