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.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.