Addition to satellite provider boosts viewership of games

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    A new deal to broadcast the Mountain West Conference‘s sports network on satellite doesn’t mean more money for conference schools, but TCU’s athletics director said the deal will result in more national exposure.

    Javan Hedlund, Mountain West Conference spokesman, said the revenue will stay the same for Mountain West Conference members, such as TCU. He said The Mtn. will receive profits from DirecTV, but the 10-year, $120 million contract with the MWC universities will stay the same.

    DirecTV, which offers more than 256 channels to 16.8 million U.S. customers, announced it will begin carrying the Mtn. in September, said Hayden Ellis, communications manager for the Mtn. Before the agreement, the Mtn. broadcast to 1.4 million homes on cable.

    He said before the DirecTV agreement, announced Feb. 22, the Mtn. was available on cable throughout the MWC with the exception of the Fort Worth area, so TCU was the most affected school in the conference.

    Ellis said the agreement is good for the Mtn. because it helps the network pay MWC universities for broadcast rights. Ellis said he could not discuss the contract agreement between DirecTV and the Mtn. but he said it is long term.

    Athletics director Danny Morrison said he is excited TCU sports will be broadcast by satellite because it will give TCU fans anywhere in the country the ability to watch the games. Hedlund said the expanded distribution will also help with recruiting.

    Kim Carver, vice president and general manager of the Mtn., said MWC fans have fueled the network’s recent growth.

    “We are excited to share the passions, rivalries and pioneering spirit of Mountain West athletics with DirecTV customers and college sports fans across the country,” Carver said. “The Mtn. continues to grow because of the energy and dedication of Mountain West fans and their desire for in-depth, comprehensive college sports coverage.”

    Morrison said he hopes the satellite deal will fuel more similar deals in the future.

    “We hope it will encourage other satellite carriers to follow, as well as cable companies in the Fort Worth area,” he said.

    Although DirecTV has not decided programming package details, Hedlund said, the Mtn. will probably be included in three DirecTV sports packages: Total Choice, Total Choice Extra and the Sports Package.

    He said it is possible that markets with MWC universities will get the Mtn. on Total Choice or Total Choice Extra, but cities farther west will probably have to purchase the Sports Package, which is more expensive.

    The Mtn., which is jointly owned by Comcast and CBS College Sports Network, premiered in 2006 as the first network dedicated to a college athletic conference.

    According to a news release, the network covers more than 200 college sporting events, including football, basketball, Olympic sports and conference championship coverage. It also has news programming, coaches’ shows, pre- and post-game analysis and feature programming about MWC athletics.