The Mountain West created a television bonus structure to keep Boise State around which paid a premium for games that were played on over-the-air, ESPN and ESPN2. Weeknight games paid out $300,000 while weekend games on those networks would take home $500,000.
That deal also gave ESPN first pick for five of the six Broncos home games, and thus guaranteeing more television money than the rest of the league. The rest of the Mountain Division by playing Boise State each year, and that left the West Division getting the short end of the stick by not getting to play the Broncos as often.
Fans, media and coaches have not liked this bonus structure due to its imbalance, and last year the Mountain Division netted $8.2 million to the West Division's $5.3 million.
Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal is reporting that there has been a shift in the bonus money to level the playing field for the entire conference in this bonus money. The league did this very quietly last year where the conference agreed to even split up the bonus money for when teams play Boise State and divide between the 10 teams -- Hawaii has its own deal and isn't eligible for this bonus.
Boise State still takes home the full share but this change helps the West Division to be on more equal monetary footing. Mountain West is the only conference that does not have an equal payout from national television money.
This is the right step for the conference to not allow the Mountain Division to not expand even further its lead over the West Division, at least in football. There have been teams that have little or no money from the television bonus money. In the RGJ.com article, Nevada took home just $780,000 compared to Boise State who took home $3.8 million last year.
Boise State will still make the most bonus money but the rest being split 10 ways will benefit the entire league and was the right call.