By Brian Murphy
The Big West Conference — Boise State's home for most non-football sports beginning in 2013 — agreed to a contract with Fox Sports Networks for the league's second-tier rights beginning in 2012. The deal includes Prime Ticket, Fox Sports West and Fox Sports San Diego, networks that are not available in the Boise market.
Commissioner Dennis Farrell said the games will be available on Fox College Sports (Channel 623 on DirecTV) and that an over-the-air carrier (like KTVB) in Boise, unlike other markets covered by the deal, will be allowed to make a deal with Fox to air games locally.
All men's and women's basketball games and women's volleyball games will be available online for free as well, Farrell said.
Farrell said the deal will result in "a net profit for the conference" and the league will have "net revenue to distribute to members." Farrell would not disclose the terms of the deal. He said the Big West is considering creating incentive pools and reward pools for distributing certain revenues.
The Big West is still negotiating with ESPN for its first-tier rights. The Big West had one regular-season men's basketball game on ESPN2, five on ESPNU and men's basketball tournament semifinals on ESPNU and the title game on ESPN2 under terms of the previous deal with ESPN. Farrell said the increased profile of his league – with the additions of Hawaii, San Diego State and Boise State — has changed the negotiations. "They recognize and understand our expectations," Farrell said.
• The Big West will meet on Oct. 23 to discuss several issues, including how many men's basketball conference games the league will play. The members had agreed to play 16 conference games during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. That was before the addition of Boise State. "Whether that changes now or not, I don't know," Farrell said.
• League officials will also discuss the format of the men's and women's basketball tournaments. The Big West is in the third year of a five-year contract with the Honda Center in Anaheim to host the tournaments.
• League officials will discuss adding women's swimming and diving to the sports sponsored by the conference. Boise State's program has won conference titles in each of the last three seasons.
Big West release
The Big West Conference and FOX Sports Networks today announced a long-term media rights agreement that makes Prime Ticket, FOX Sports West, and FOX Sports San Diego the exclusive regional TV partners for Big West Conference sports commencing with the current 2012-13 season.
This season, a minimum of 20 marquee events will be showcased across Prime Ticket, FOX Sports West, and FOX Sports San Diego, including regular season men’s basketball games, four men’s basketball tournament quarterfinal games, and the women’s basketball tournament championship game, as well as the soccer and track and field championships.
Beginning in the 2013-14 season, at least 32 events per year will be televised when San Diego State joins the Big West. A minimum of 12 San Diego State men’s basketball games will be added to the selection of events for Prime Ticket, FOX Sports West, and FOX Sports San Diego. Additional events and non-game programming specials are slated to appear on other FOX Sports platforms.
Additionally, FOX Sports Networks in conjunction with the Big West will launch the Conference’s free-to-access video streaming platform this November. The digital offering will deliver up to 800 live events each academic year, including certain men’s and women’s basketball games and women’s volleyball matches not selected for TV, as well as many other Conference athletic events.
“This agreement with FOX continues a partnership that began more than 15 years ago,” said Big West Conference Commissioner Dennis Farrell. “The Big West’s continued growth and stability contributed to the overall expansion of the package and the increased exposure through the cable and digital platforms will only enhance the Conference brand.”
“We’re proud to be long-term partners with the Big West Conference,” said Steve Simpson, senior vice president and general manager, FOX Sports West and Prime Ticket. “The schools that represent the Conference are an ideal complement to the regionally relevant programming focus of FOX Sports West and Prime Ticket and we look forward to showcasing multiple sports and the remarkable student-athletes that represent the Big West.”
“Teaming with the Big West is great news for our San Diego audience,” said Henry Ford, Senior Vice President and General Manager of FOX Sports San Diego. “With the addition of San Diego State to the Conference in 2013, FOX Sports San Diego becomes the regional home for Aztec sports for many years to come.”
The agreement also gives FOX Sports year-long in-arena exposure – signage, video/message boards, PA announcements – at all Big West institutions, website recognition on all Big West institution websites and a sponsorship position in the Big West Basketball Tournament.
About Big West Conference
The Big West Conference is a member of NCAA Division I and includes California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; California State University, Fullerton; California State University, Northridge; Long Beach State University; University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Riverside; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Hawai‘i, Manoa; and the University of the Pacific. Boise State University and San Diego State University become members effective July 1, 2013. Pacific will no longer be a conference member effective July 1, 2013.