Bumped to the front page.
With both leagues under attack by the Big East, and neither league having tremendous satisfaction with its television status, should the two leagues join forces for more than just football?
Let's assume the following:
Mountain West loses Boise State & Air Force
Mountain West restocks, presumably with Utah State and/or San Jose State
Conference USA loses Houston, SMU and Central Florida
Conference USA restocks, presumably taking teams from the Sun Belt
I'm not completely sure of all of the television contracts that exist with the two conferences, but I'm aware that some of them are finished after the 2015-2016 season.
Combined, the Mountain West and Conference USA stretch across the entire country. Should the two conferences band together to create a dual-conference network and a dual-conference television deal in the future?
The teams would stretch from coast to coast. The "number of eyeballs" over that stretch of geography is much higher with both combined than for either conference alone. If the networks combine for a dual-conference TV network, it is far more likely to be carried by cable and satellite providers across the country compared to carrying The Mtn on its own merits.
Ideally, the two conferences could leverage their presence to bring in more money and to have more programming available across the country, on national broadcast networks, national cable sports networks, the dual-conference network and regional sports networks.
Other conference collaborations are possible. The ACC and Big Ten participate in the "ACC - Big Ten Challenge" each year, with basketball schools facing off. There's no reason the Mountain West and Conference USA could not do the same, or have agreements for other sports (even non "made for TV" sports).
I'm aware that it was stated at the teleconference (a few weeks ago) that the TV deals will remain separate for both leagues, but that may be out of necessity and could be simply for the short term. They probably can't legally renegotiate the TV contracts for other sports now, but they may be able to in the future for when the existing contracts expire.
If they worked to create this proposal, they may even be able to get BYU back as a football-only member (if they don't get taken by another conference).
I'm not suggesting an all-out merger (at least not right now), but the benefits of the two conferences working together might help both in the long term.