According to the Mountain West Conference website (themwc.com), the league announced it had reached a seven-year agreement with ESPN to televise both football and basketball games beginning with the 2013-2014 school year (source: MWC). The announcement was made by conference commissioner Craig Thomson and ESPN's senior vice president of college sports, Burke Magnus.
CBS Sports Network is the primary rights holder for the Mountain West through 2016, but sold back some of the controlling rights to the league for redistribution. CBS retains first choice of every week during the season, except for Boise State Bronco home games which ESPN has acquired in the new package.
ESPN will be able to televise up to 16 Mountain West football games and 31 men’s basketball games. The nine-team basketball conference has value too as they had a head-turning year with the highest rated RPI rating in the country (source: Idaho Statesman). The Mountain West placed an incredible five of its nine teams in the NCAA tourney with four of the teams seeded in the top eight in their respective brackets.
Boise State football is a key ingredient in this agreement because they have guaranteed themselves that every home football game will be broadcast on ESPN. In-turn, ESPN makes out because they get a perennial Top 20 team without an expensive special agreement such as Notre Dame and NBC have. CBS Sports may retain the away contests.
CBS Sports also has the rights to the new Mountain West Conference football championship. With the addition of San Jose State and Utah State, the league grows to two divisions in 2013: Mountain and West – pretty ingenious, huh – with six teams in each division. Up from nine, basketball will have 11 squads next year.
This television package is a boon to Boise who appeared only occasionally on national telecasts over the last couple years. This was one of the main reasons the school wanted to bolt for the Big East. However, having decided against their original move east due to the Big East having their own issues (source: ESPN), along with the demise of the Mountain West’s own cable outlet, The Mountain; may end up being a boon for the blue field folks in Boise. Sometimes the best moves are those that aren't made.
Terms of the deal were not released.