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  • Mountain West Conference Signs On With CSTV

    Deal is first Division I-A deal to include football, basketball for CSTV

    Aug. 26, 2004 Staff

    NEW YORK, NY ( -- The Mountain West Conference and College Sports Television have reached a landmark agreement that will place MWC programming exclusively on CSTV beginning with the 2006 season. It is CSTV's first Division I-A conference deal that includes football and men's basketball games.

    The agreement between the MWC and CSTV includes all conference-related rights, from local and national television, to national and satellite radio, as well as marketing and sponsorship rights.

    "This is a college sports match made in heaven," said Craig Thompson, commissioner of the Mountain West Conference.

    For CSTV, which opens its 2004 football schedule with its first-ever Division I-A football game, the partnership is a significant milepost, dramatically increasing its profile among football and basketball fans, while expanding its roster of sports. The network recently announced new distribution agreements with Time Warner and Comcast, which will increase its reach to an estimated 55 million cable households in just its second year on the air.

    The Mountain West Conference's current contract with ESPN, which expires following the 2005 season, required the MWC to schedule many of its marquee games on weekdays. ESPN's exclusive negotiation window expired in July, leaving the conference free to seek a new partner. This agreement will feature a significant increase in national exposure for football and men's basketball.

    The Mountain West Conference was formed in 1998 when eight schools - Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah and Wyoming - broke away from the Western Athletic Conference to form the MWC. In 2005, TCU will move from Conference USA and become the ninth member of the MWC.

    Mountain West Conference schools captured two NCAA championships in 2004, with New Mexico winning the skiing crown while BYU claimed the men's volleyball title. Heading into the 2004-05 seasons, Utah is ranked 20th in the AP football poll. Colorado State (11th) and Utah (24th) are both in the USA Today/CSTV AVCA volleyball rankings, while Utah is 24th in the NSCAA women's soccer preseason rankings.

Related Topics


  • DJRamFan
    Gutsy Mountain West banking on big plans
    by DJRamFan
    Feb. 19, 2005
    By Dennis Dodd Senior Writer
    Tell Dennis your opinion!

    Give the Mountain West credit for having a huge set.

    And we're not necessarily talking television.

    Last year the Mountain West became the first I-A conference to leave ESPN. Mountain West TV (carrying league football and basketball games) kicks off in 2006 on new cable network CSTV.

    College Sports Television is trying to stay a step ahead of the copy cats. (Provided to SportsLine)
    Having to play midweek games and perceived second-class status became too much for the conference's presidential board. Commissioner Craig Thompson was charged with finding a new TV home. In what was a largely ignored, but significant, deal, he was able to sign a deal with fledgling CSTV in September.

    "Us leaving ESPN was the chink in the armor," Thompson said. "They lost a client for the first time ever, so to speak. Not that we meant that much to them."

    Time will tell whether the move to CSTV (College Sports Television) was progressive or ill-advised. ESPN is still the 800-pound gorilla but even it can't account for the increasingly fragmented college sports market. Conference USA followed the Mountain West to CSTV, although some of its inventory will remain on ESPN.

    Sure, the Mountain West got a 71 percent rights fees increase but it also lost "reach," the pairs of eyeballs that could see its product. CSTV, which debuted in 2003, is on most major cable systems but lags far behind the Worldwide Leader in terms of viewers and clout.

    "They realized they were not going to get the attention they deserved for the sports they deserved stuck as one tiny piece of ESPN's (empire)," said CSTV cofounder Brian Bedol.

    One industry analyst says CSTV has a good chance to get into 60 million homes in the next year or so. Bedol says the goal is 40 million homes in the next two years.

    "It's particularly a great move for a conference like the Mountain West," said the analyst, who did not want to be identified. "Without a large population base you struggle in competition against larger leagues. To create your own destiny is really a great move. There is risk associated with it, I think it's going to work."

    Both sides are betting on the idea that they will get better together. The Mountain West is arguably the best non-BCS league. CSTV was founded by Bedol, Steve Greenberg and Chris Bevilacqua. Bedol and Greenberg co-founded Classic Sports Network, which they eventually sold to ESPN. It is now ESPN Classic.

    Their financing includes Coca-Cola, JP Morgan and sports entrepreneur Dave Checketts.

    Bottom line, college sports' television landscape is changing. Both Fox and ESPN are launching...
    -02-24-2005, 08:10 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Conference USA eyes football title game in '05
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 20, 2004 wire reports

    Conference USA athletic directors have voted unanimously to recommend holding the league's inaugural football championship game in 2005.

    The recommendation made Thursday now goes before the league's board of directors.

    The game would feature champions from two divisions. East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, UAB and Central Florida will compete in the East Division and Houston, Rice, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, and UTEP will play in the West.

    The team with the highest conference winning percentage would host the championship game.

    "We also feel there are a number of advantages to the schools and the host community," Southern Miss athletic director Richard Giannini said. "This format is not only the best method to determine our champion, but will provide excellent media exposure for the schools and the community, including the economic impact a game like this creates."

    Conference USA would become one of five Division I-A conferences to hold a football championship game. The Big 12, Southeastern Conference and Mid-American Conference currently play football championship games, and the Atlantic Coast Conference will add a championship game in 2005.

    Next year, Conference USA will add six schools: Marshall, Rice, SMU, Tulsa, UCF and UTEP.

    Current members Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida are moving to the Big East in 2005.

    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -08-20-2004, 12:07 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Big East, ACC makeovers lead to turnover in C-USA, WAC and MAC
    by DJRamFan
    June 23, 2004

    BOSTON (AP) When the Atlantic Coast Conference raided the Big East to become a football powerhouse, it started a wave of change that has left the non-BCS leagues in a state of flux.


    Like the Big East, Conference USA, the Western Athletic Conference, the Mid-American Conference and the Sun Belt Conference are preparing to play the upcoming season with several lame duck members.

    So how do you lead a league in limbo?

    "Get through this year and look to '05 when the new members join," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday during a break in the Collegiate Commissioners Association meetings. "The disadvantage here is you lose a year of planning and there's confusion. In the past it hasn't been all that damaging. We've got four schools that are playing in their final year. It's awkward, but it's not unmanageable."

    Teams switching conferences is nothing new. Since 1990, the Pac-10 is the only Division I-A football conference that has not changed members.

    But never before have so many teams in so many leagues been shuffled in such a short time. Over the next two seasons, about 20 percent of the 117 Division I-A football schools will be changing leagues.

    The ACC knocked over the first domino when it lured Miami and Virginia Tech out of the Big East. Those schools join the ACC this season. Next season, Boston College follows.

    The Big East recouped by adding five schools from Conference USA, three that play football. Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida join Big East football in 2005. Marquette and DePaul are also shifting from C-USA to the Big East.

    C-USA will say goodbye to two more football schools after the 2004 season when Army goes back to being an independent and Texas Christian heads to the Mountain West Conference after just three football seasons in C-USA.

    The Horned Frogs garnered national attention for themselves and C-USA last year by going 11-2 and reaching as high as sixth in the Bowl Championship Series standings, the highest ranking ever for a team from a non-BCS league.

    TCU, Louisville and Cincinnati have football programs that have blossomed into consistent winners in recent years, and all three are expected to contend for the C-USA title in 2004.

    Next season they will be replaced by Marshall, Central Florida, UTEP, Rice, SMU and Tulsa.

    "It think it's a challenge for us because we're changing so many of our members that have strong identities," said C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, whose conference is also losing non-football members Charlotte and St. Louis to the Atlantic 10.

    "The league I think has a reputation as being very strong in the sport of men's basketball, we have some very high profile coaches...
    -06-28-2004, 12:45 PM
  • DJRamFan
    12-Member NEAC to Begin Play in 2004-05 Season
    by DJRamFan
    News Release

    Doug Lippincott, Director of Communications
    Office: (315) 279-5231 Home: (585) 346-2639
    FAX: (315) 279-5281 E-mail: [email protected]


    KEUKA PARK, N.Y.—Twelve NCAA Division III colleges from three states have joined to form a newlook North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC). David Sweet, athletic director at current NEAC member Keuka College and acting conference commissioner, said conference play will begin in the 2004-05 season.

    Joining NEAC holdovers Keuka (Keuka Park, N.Y.), Cazenovia College (Cazenovia, N.Y.), and D’Youville College (Buffalo, N.Y.) are:
    • Baptist Bible College (Clarks Summit, Pa.).
    • Bard College (Annadale-On-Hudson, N.Y.).
    • Chestnut Hill College (Philadelphia, Pa.).
    • Keystone College (La Plume, Pa.).
    • Pennsylvania State University-Berks (Reading, Pa.).
    • Philadelphia Biblical University (Langhorne, Pa.).
    • Polytechnic University (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
    • SUNY Purchase (Purchase, N.Y.).
    • Villa Julie College (Stevenson, Md.)

    Current NEAC members Medaille College and Hilbert College will join the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference next season.

    The defection of Hilbert and Medaille would have left the NEAC with just three
    schools—Keuka College, D’Youville College, and Cazenovia College—for the 2004-05 season. “The conference wouldn’t have existed with just three members,” said David Sweet, athletic director at Keuka College and acting NEAC commissioner.

    Pulling the plug on the NEAC would have left Keuka and the other two colleges with two alternatives: join another conference or become an independent.

    “We explored the possibility of joining another conference but none of the Division III conferences in New York state were looking to expand and the others just didn’t work geographically,” said Sweet.

    Returning to independent status, which Keuka held before it joined the NEAC in 2001, was “something we didn’t even want to consider,” said Sweet. “Scheduling is very difficult for independent schools, but most of all our kids want to play for championships and everything else that goes with being in a conference, such as player of the week, all-conference, and all-academic honors,” he said. “We joined the NEAC for the benefits it would provide our student athletes, and we wanted to stay in a conference for the same reasons.”

    So Sweet and his counterparts at D’Youville (Brian Miller) and Cazenovia (Pete Liddell), along with presidents Joseph G. Burke (Keuka), Sister Denise A. Roche (D’Youville), and Mark J. Tierno (Cazenovia) went to work to save the NEAC.

    Their work was worthy of an ER script. Not only is the NEAC still kicking, but it has grown.

    According to Keuka’s top administrators, the new NEAC will benefit...
    -07-12-2004, 05:06 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Miami and Virginia Tech join ACC officially
    by DJRamFan
    Associated Press
    GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The addition of Miami and Virginia Tech to the Atlantic Coast Conference becomes official tomorrow.

    It represents a seismic shift in the college sports landscape.

    After a lot of angry debate, the conference eventually announced that Boston College would join as the ACC's 12th member in 2005 -- allowing the league the ACC to divide into divisions for football. That means a lucrative championship game, which is projected to produce $6 million in extra revenue.

    ACC commissioner John Swofford disputes the idea that the league acted like a corporate raider in swiping Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College from the Big East.

    But the rippling consequences of that push have been felt in conferences across the country. Over the next two seasons, about 20 percent of the 117 Division I-A football schools will be changing leagues. The domino effects of ACC expansion will be felt as far west as New Mexico, where New Mexico State is shifting from the Sun Belt Conference to the Western Athletic Conference.
    -07-01-2004, 06:50 AM