The Mountain West Network to contrary beliefs has been a good deal for the league. 2007 was the first year the network went live but the reach was limited to only cable operators and the availability was small and only within the conference cities and a small surrounding area, if that. The league broke away from ESPN because the World Wide Leader wanted games on Tuesday through Friday and an occassional Saturday game for football, and the dreaded midnight eastern start time for hoops.
The league did receive more money to break away and start the very first conference only network -- something that is forgotten when conference tv networks are mentioned -- and also partnered up with CBS College Sports and Versus.
The first year was tough because to watch games fans had to either attend the games, find that friend who had The Mtn., or if you were a really resourceful find someone who had Slingbox and tap into their feed to watch the game at your place no matter where you lived.
The league tried to put a spin by saying more games then ever where on the tube, but when a game was on The Mtn. it was essentially similar to a regional sports network like Fox Sports or Raycom.
Currently the league also has a deal with DirecTv where if you live within the conference footprint then the channel is one of your regional sports channel, and if you live outside it is availble on the sports pack. Now, anyone across the country can get to see every football game --if it is being broadcasted which is all but a few-- with combo of all three network partners, which IS more then what could be said for the ESPN package. Well, unless you have Dish Network because they are still not carrying The Mountain West Sports Network, but it is much better then 2007.
So there is the breif back story about The Mtn., but there is still room for improvement to be had. The league finally broadcasted two football games and the mens hoops tourney in high definition this past year and this year there are nine games that are on The Mtn. that are being shown in high-def. The total for the season is 30 games in high-def when you include all three new networks but that is still not enough.
During media days the league did not broadcast live, but rather set up a produced package to show media day coverage a week later. Those who wanted to watch it live were unable to do that, but there was a delay for streaming on the leagues official website. However that video and audio qualiry was about as good as someone using a video camera to record a television show who then posted on YouTube, and that is being nice.
Not sure what the deal with broadcasting the podium interviews live on The Mtn.-- or at least stream on the channels website -- with their studio crew off to the side to jabber in between, and that could have been done in addition to putting together a packaged television show.
The other leagues did some sort of live streaming for fans, and the Big 10 Network went all out with the interaction with live streaming, chats, blogs, tweeting, facebooking, and any other media to get the word out.
Now the league is doing a huge block of nine 30 minute previews for each, ok not bad even though a one hour preview would be better. Now here is the reason on why The Mtn does not get it. These previews are starting Thursday August 6th, by showing all nine in a row starting at 6pm mountain time.
That makes no sense who has the time to watching four and a half straight hours of college football preview. Even I will not watch these straight through, but I will TiVo them and bust threw the nine previews this weekend. The Mtn. will rerun these until the season begins, but why not run two at a time and have special week of college football previews.
Everytime the channel makes good strides with better distribution and showing more games in high-def, they do something like this. The channel is getting better, but who is running that channel.