Fresno State found that its 5-0 record and highest national ranking since 2005 can provide a financial boost on Monday when the Bulldogs' Oct. 26 game at San Diego State was selected for national television on ESPN2.
The $500,000 windfall comes at an opportune time for an athletic department that has struggled in recent years and took a hit earlier this season with the postponement of a game at Colorado due to massive flooding.
The Bulldogs could be in line for additional paydays down the line, as well, if they continue to rack up wins and move up the national polls.
A Nov. 2 game against Nevada and a Nov. 23 game against New Mexico will be on ESPN networks and a Nov. 9 game at Wyoming, originally slated for the Mountain West Digital Network, has been transferred to the ESPN lineup that weekend.
If any of those games are selected for ESPN or ESPN2, Fresno State, which is ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 19 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, again would receive additional revenue for being on the national telecast. The Bulldogs’ final regular-season game, Nov. 29 at San Jose State, will be broadcast by the CBSSports Network.
"So much goes into determining what they're going to broadcast, depending on what other schools do and what other games they have to select from," Athletic Director Thomas Boeh said. "And right now being a top-20 team, with continued winning, I’m sure we’ll be attractive down the line.
"It's been a while, because we've not been able to really realize significant television income for quite a while, in relative terms. It's still not compared what some of the folks from the Pac-12 and the Big Ten receive, but it's nice to see an occasion where revenues are greater than projected."
Fresno State's game at San Diego State will kick off at 7:30 p.m.
The revenue from the national broadcast, Boeh said, will help the athletic department meet budget projections as well as defray losses it could incur from the missed game at Colorado. Fresno State lost a $250,000 guarantee when that game was postponed, as well as unrecoverable expenses including its charter.
It will help in other areas as well, raising the visibility of a building program.
"It's huge," coach Tim DeRuyter said. "I think it's great that (MW Commissioner Craig Thompson) got us back on ESPN. It's the gold standard. If you want to recruit nationally, if you want your profile, your image, nationally to go up, get on ESPN and do well.
"So far we've done that twice and got wins and that helps, and to get another opportunity against Wyoming and against San Diego State, we'll have the platform. Now it's up to us to earn the right to say, 'They played well, or not' -- but at least we have that opportunity, which is great."