Boise State and Fresno State have been the biggest beneficiaries of the Mountain West TV deal, collecting $3.7 million and $2.4 million over the past two years.
And though there is a disparity in the system — seven schools have received less than $1 million and UNLV has not received any payout — Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said in a teleconference that while it could be revisited in the future he is not anticipating any changes.
“If the membership brings it up, absolutely,” he said. “This is a membership-driven conference. The current revenue distribution plan was approved by the board of directors when Boise State and San Diego State opted to remain in the Mountain West, and so these are contractual obligations that were made in some cases by predecessors to the current board. But unless somebody in the membership, i.e., the board, says we want to look at a different revenue distribution, I do not anticipate any changes.”
In the conference’s TV contract, which runs through the 2019-’20 season, teams receive a bonus of $300,000 for appearing in a nationally-televised game on a weekday and $500,000 for a game that is played on a Saturday.
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Fresno State received a $500,000 bonus this season when its game against Wyoming was picked up and televised by ESPN2.
Last year, Fresno Stated earned $1 million when its games at San Diego State and at Wyoming were broadcast nationally.
“Up until two years ago, we had distributed everything equally whether it was by eight or nine or 10 or however many members we had at the time and with the Boise State and San Diego State membership agreements, that’s when it changed,” Thompson said.
“Most conferences have worked under situations where there was bonus revenue, appearance revenue, based on whether you were on ESPN or ABC or any other network and only until the last two years did we change that. I’m comfortable with the system in that without Boise State I can honestly say there would probably not be an ESPN contract.”