Revisiting the Mountain West TV deal, plus payouts

Brian Losness-US PRESSWIRE

Time to take a quick look at how much television money each Mountain West could earn.

tweet sent late Saturday night by a San Diego sports writer spawned me to write this post about what Mountain West schools could earn:

Before we get to the purpose of this post, does he not realize that San Diego State just got their face bashed in by Eastern Illinois of the FCS level. So, no point in making that comment at all, heck even if San Diego State won it would be a dumb thing to say.

Now, lets look and see if Boise State really got the sweetheart deal Zeigler is claiming. First off, here are the details of those bonuses for national appearances that Boise State will earn, as well as the rest of the Mountain West.

National Exposure Bonus System: Teams that play on a national broadcast - as defined as on a network of 90 million or more homes in the U.S.) will receive a $300,000 bonus. If the game is on a Saturday, the bonus is $500,000. That money will be distributed before per-member division of conference revenues.

These networks are defined in the agreement as: ESPN, ESPN2, ABC network "over the air," NBC network "over the air," CBS network "over the air" and Fox network "over the air" or their successors. NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network would not qualify.

Boise State says this is applicable to all games involving a Mountain West team - home/away, conference/non-conference. The Mountain West says it is only applicable to games that the league controls the TV rights for, so non-conference road games not be eligible.

That last line about conference and non-conference games tripped me up earlier, because in signed document it just mentions regular season games with no distinction of type of game.

Boise State is guaranteed at least $900,000 in bonuses since as stated above three home games must be on ESPN, ESPN2, or ABC, and possibly more if they play on Saturday. Actually, Boise State is guaranteed $1.1 million since they have two non-Saturday games on ESPN and the rest of their Saturday home games are to be on one of the ESPN channels, but they are guaranteed three to be on the higher tier which would net them $500,000.

Also, this list does not include a potential Mountain West title game. Also, Hawaii has their own type of deal for their home games, so they are not getting a bonus, well at least not this year.

Team Current payout Possible payout
Air Force $300,000 $1.8 million
Boise State $1.1 million $2.1 million
Colorado State $0 $1 million
Fresno State $300,000 $1.8 million
Hawaii $0 $0
Nevada $300,000 $2.3 million
New Mexico $0 $1 million
San Diego State $300,000 $1.3 million
San Jose State $300,000 $.1.8 million
UNLV $0 $1.5 million
Utah State $300,000 $800,000
Wyoming $0 $1 million

Boise State does have a built in advantage over the rest of the league by being guaranteed $1.1 million this year, but there are other schools who are getting at least $300,000 and if things go perfect for Nevada they could actually out earn Boise in 2013. That is not likely, nor is it that any team will earn the maximum possible payout. The league did what they had to do to keep Boise State to keep the league from dropping a notch and closer to the other non-BCS leagues.

The CBS Sports deal still pays schools $1 million per year and ESPN has allotted $6 million per year and that is where these bonuses are coming from. The one concern is that if teams exceed the national appearance bonuses that the money could come from the CBS deal or other places within the league, but none will come from NCAA basketball tournament credits.

Boise State did get a nice deal, with a guarantee, to remain in the Mountain West, but the deal with national bonuses that go along with the ESPN deal really helps the entire league. Games scheduled on an ESPN family of networks not known until usually a week or 10 days before allows teams who play well to get bumped up to ESPN or ESPN2. So, if a team like Wyoming or Fresno State continues to play well then they can earn that extra money as the season goes along.

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