ESPN Acquires Rights to Mountain West Conference Football Championship Game
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - ESPN and the Mountain West have reached an agreement for rights to the Conference's annual football championship game, enhancing an existing multimedia pact through the 2019-20 season. The football title contest adds to an extensive deal, which began with the 2013 season, that provides ESPN with exclusive worldwide rights to televise up to 16 Mountain West football games, plus every Boise State home game, as well as up to 31 conference-controlled men's basketball games annually. ESPN will have the right to make every game available to video subscribers via WatchESPN.
The MW Championship Game, played at the site of the divisional champion with the highest College Football Playoff Selection Committee ranking, will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 every season, beginning with the 2015 matchup on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. West Division winner Fresno State has reached both of the championship matchups, defeating Utah State 24-17 in 2013 and losing to Boise State 28-14 last season.
"With the addition of the Mountain West football title game, fans can follow the conference's games and developing storylines from the opening week to the crowing of the champion on ESPN," said Kurt Dargis, director, ESPN programming. "We look forward to building on our relationship with the conference that has already delivered many memorable moments on our platforms."
Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said, "We are appreciative of the growing relationship with our partners at ESPN. The addition of our annual football championship game to a full slate of regular-season programming across the ESPN networks will provide an exciting segue into our many ESPN-affiliated bowl games and the College Football Playoff."
Prior to the current agreement, ESPN televised four MW football games through a sublicense deal in 2012. It marked the first time ESPN had televised Mountain West games from a member institution's home venue since 2005. ESPN had a regular schedule of conference member home games from the league's inception in 1999 to 2005.
About the Mountain West Conference
From its inception in 1999, the Mountain West has been committed to excellence in intercollegiate athletics, while promoting the academic missions of its member institutions. Progressive in its approach, the Mountain West continues to cultivate opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while fostering academic achievement and sportsmanship. Now in its 16th year, the MW has been assertive in its involvement with the NCAA governance structure and has taken a leadership role in the overall administration of intercollegiate athletics. The Mountain West membership is comprised of 11 all-sport members: the United States Air Force Academy, Boise State University, Colorado State University, Fresno State, University of Nevada, University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, San José State University, UNLV, Utah State University and University of Wyoming. In addition, the University of Hawai‘i and Colorado College participate in the Mountain West as single-sport members in football and women's soccer, respectively.
ESPN, Inc., is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of eight U.S. 24-hour television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network and the SEC Network) and five HD simulcast services (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes). Other businesses include ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (24 networks, syndication, radio, digital), ESPN Radio (broadcast, satellite, digital, a growing category led by ScoreCenter), digital services (ESPN.com plus a variety of sport-, college-, and market-specific sites; multi-screen WatchESPN and ESPN3; plus mobile TV and video, apps, alerts and messaging), ESPN The Magazine, consumer products and espnW. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.