Without knowing any inside knowledge about why Mountain West and Conference USA are not merging, one has to assume that it all has to do with money. The two leagues were standing to lose a lot of NCAA tournament money by dissolving and forming a new league. Plus, one would assume that a television deal for the new mega-league was not as lucrative as initially thought, however the two leagues have said that they will still continue to work together in media rights.
I doubt the two leagues will do that even though agreed to this last month, and at most they will combine to work out a scheduling agreement. The other item that popped into my head was that the closure of The Mtn. must have not been a knee jerk reaction and a decision was likely made well before the recent announcement of the station shutting down.
One would think that when the merger was expecting to happen that the new league could sign up with more proven or well established networks instead of trying to improve the Mtn.'s reach of approximately 12 million subscribers.
Now, with the merger not happening and the Mtn. officially gone, the Mountain West is left with only CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network until 2015 when the current television deal expires. That means for the next three seasons that football and basketball games could be slashed dramatically unless a new third partner is introduced, CBS Sports and NBC Sports pick up the slack a lot or have the local affiliates pick up the left over games that do not get sold. An off the wall idea could be to have CBS involved in more games for football and basketball.
One idea that could work is to find a third partner like Altitude, Fox Sports or maybe even ESPN, but Craig Thompson may not want to crawl back to ESPN. Fox Sports is looking for more content and with FUEL TV moving toward a more traditional sports channel and over the air Fox going with Saturday night prime time Pac-12 games there is opportunity for the Mountain West to make that move.
So, the final word on The Mtn. is that the decision to shutdown was going to happen if the Mountain West stayed as is or if the league merged with Conference USA.