Mountain West football championships now will be televised by ESPN, the conference and major sports network announced Friday.
The deal begins this upcoming season and runs through the 2019-20 campaign with the championship to be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 every season. The Mountain West championship pits the two divisional winners and is hosted by the team with the higher College Football Playoff ranking.
The Mountain West has had a championship game since 2013, aired both times by CBS. But the network earlier this month declined its contract option for the 2015 season but will still be the conference’s primary television partner for the regular season.
Fresno State played in the first two conference title games after winning the West Division. The Bulldogs defeated Utah State 24-17 at Bulldog Stadium in the inaugural championship in 2013 then lost 28-14 at Boise State last season. Last season’s championship was the lowest-rated college football broadcast of the season for CBS, a 10 % drop from 2013-14.
The 2015 championships is set for 4:30 p.m. Dec. 5 on ESPN 2.
The agreement enhances an existing multimedia pact between the conference and ESPN, which since 2013 broadcasts 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. Prior to the deal, ESPN televised only four Mountain West football games in 2012.
Fresno State, which is coming off an 6-8 campaign, begins its season against Abilene Christian on Sept. 3.
2015 BULLDOGS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
▪ Sept. 3 vs. Abilene Christian, 7 p.m.
▪ Sept. 12 at Mississippi, tbd
▪ Sept. 19 vs. Utah, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
▪ Sept. 26 at San Jose State#, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
▪ Oct. 3 at San Diego State#, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
▪ Oct. 10 vs. Utah State#, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
▪ Oct. 16 vs. UNLV#, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
▪ Oct. 24 at Air Force#, tbd (ESPN Networks)
▪ Nov. 5 vs. Nevada#, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
▪ Nov. 14 at Hawaii#, tbd
▪ Nov. 21 at Brigham Young, tbd
▪ Nov. 28 vs. Colorado State#, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
# Mountain West Conference game