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MWC Makes Media Rights Deals With CBS, Fox Official

“Beginning in 2020-21, the six-year agreements will include men’s basketball and football rights.”

Brandon Contes

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The Mountain West Conference announced new media rights deals with CBS Sports and FOX Sports, reportedly worth a combined $270 million over the next six years.

Beginning in 2020-21, the six-year agreements will include men’s basketball and football rights. CBS Sports continues as the primary rightsholder for Mountain West as it has since 2006, while FOX Sports replaces ESPN as the conference’s secondary media partner. 

“FOX Sports is pleased to add the Mountain West to our roster of top-tier collegiate athletics partnerships,” FOX Sports President, National Networks, Mark Silverman said in the press release. “We look forward to showcasing these exceptional programs, coaches and student-athletes in the years to come.”

FOX Sports will carry a full schedule of football and men’s basketball games from the MWC. The conference’s new media partner will also have exclusive rights for Boise State home football games and the Mountain West Football Championship.

Continuing as the Mountain West’s primary media partner, CBS Sports will carry at least 23 football games and 32 men’s basketball contests each year, including the conference championship.

“Given both the strength of the Mountain West Conference and success of our partnership over the past 15 years, continuing our long-term relationship with the conference was a priority for us,” said Dan Weinberg, EVP, Programming, CBS Sports. “Retaining the conference’s top games for CBS Sports Network is important and builds upon our already strong schedule. We look forward to an exciting future with the conference in the years ahead.”

The addition of FOX Sports as the Mountain West’s secondary media partner means the end of their agreement with ESPN. 

ESPN began serving as the MW’s primary broadcaster when the conference launched in 1999. After eight years, ESPN was replaced by a combination of CBS Sports, Versus and The Mountain. They came back into the picture in 2012 after The Mountain folded and continued to be the MW’s secondary rightsholder for the last seven years.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here

Sports TV News

Jenny Taft Details Security Measures For Female Journalists In Qatar For World Cup

“I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only. Somehow, I don’t feel that special about it.”

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Much has been made about the abysmal human rights record of World Cup host Qatar as the Middle East nation sees worldwide attention for one of the first times. FOX Sports reporter Jenny Taft detailed the experience of a female journalist covering the event, and was less than impressed.

“I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only,” Taft said. “Somehow, I don’t feel that special about it.”

Taft had received pushback from viewers and media personalities for her coverage during the World Cup opener, and her interview with the organizers of Qatar’s bid to host the event. Many called FOX’s coverage “tone-deaf” and “proppoganda”.

Taft has continued chronically her experience at the World Cup on her TikTok account, with one video mentioning how difficult it was to leave behind her baby for the nearly month-long assignment.

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Sports TV News

Peter Burns Apologizes To Ben Watson After On-Air Joke About Wife

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

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SEC Network host Peter Burns has publicly apologized to analyst Ben Watson and his wife Kirsten for an off-color joke he made during halftime of Saturday’s Florida/Vanderbilt game on the network.

While joking about Watson’s suit being lighter in color than everyone else’s on set, Watson said he didn’t care what the other hosts thought about his suit, just as long as his wife thought he looked nice, and asked her to “send the text” letting him know he looked good. Burns quipped “that’s not the text she sent me” before going to commercials. When the show returned, Burns and Watson were not on set, and the former NFL tight end insinuated the pair had a strong disagreement during the break.

Later that evening, Burns tweeted a picture of the pair with the caption #Friendship, which Watson retweeted saying Burns needed to publicly apologize. He did that Monday evening.

In a tweet, Burns said “the truth is that I crossed the line”, noting that Watson “couldn’t have handled it better with his humor and class”.

An ESPN representative had previously told OutKick the entire situation was a joke, calling it a “performance bit”, adding Watson “100% deserves an Emmy nomination”.

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Sports TV News

Rece Davis: College GameDay Needed Someone Like Pete Thamel for Years

“It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN’s College GameDay has a formula to it that has made the show work for so long. It’s not scripted at all, but it’s organized in a way that gives the show structure.

And sometimes time constraints force producers and the hosts to have to make adjustments on the fly, like eliminating segments or elements within segments.

GameDay host Rece Davis talked about it on Monday’s edition of the College GameDay podcast with ESPN senior college football writer Pete Thamel. Davis praised Thamel for his contributions to the show but acknowledged that often Thamel whose hits on the show end up struck because of time.

“All of us sacrifice some, but you’re one of the ones who take heavy hits in terms of things getting cut,” Davis said. Thamel’s tweets are often featured throughout the show, and Davis makes it a point to recognize Thamel on the air. “That’s why I try to give you a shoutout when I see the tweets pop up on the screen, which are amazing by the way.”

Davis said Thamel’s ability to provide up to the second information on relevant and timely stories in college football has been a welcomed change to the show.

“You’ve brought something to GameDay that GameDay’s desperately needed for years,” he said. “It’s like because of this podcast and that, people have started to think of us as two guys who might someday star in a buddy movie.”

GameDay will be on location this weekend for the showdown between Michigan and Ohio State. This past weekend the show was live from Montana State.

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