On September 1st, 2010, BYU took a step in a new direction when it announced it would begin competition as a football independent for the 2011 season. The Cougars are heading into their fifth season as an independent in 2015.
BYU also embarked on an 8-year partnership with ESPN to televise Cougar football on the sports leader’s family of networks. BYU is the only school with an exclusive television deal with ESPN and played 40 of 52 games on one of the ESPN networks over the past four seasons.
“BYU is nationally recognized as an outstanding university and for the history and tradition of its premier athletic programs,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, programming aquisitions. “Once BYU decided to chart an independent course for football, we both recognized it is a good opportunity to build and grow our strong 30-year relationship. With this agreement, college football fans around the country will see the quality and pageantry of BYU as well as the passion and enthusiasm of its supporters.”
One of the most important goals in becoming an independent was the opportunity for more national exposure for the university and its football program. BYU also sought better access for the Cougars’ national fan base and the opportunity to schedule high-profile opponents.
“We’ve long sought broad, nationwide access to our games for our fans and increased visibility among those who may be less familiar with our university and athletic programs,” said then BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson. “We’ve also been looking for ways to take better advantage of our own unique broadcasting resources.”
As it was for the past four seasons, every BYU home football game will be televised to a live national audience on the ESPN family of networks or BYUtv. Additionally, BYU fans will be able to view same-day rebroadcasts on BYUtv of every home game and any away game to which ESPN has the rights through conference agreements with the host team.
BYU is the first football program to garner its own exclusive deal with ESPN to broadcast its games. ESPN and ESPN2 are both available in almost 99 million homes, while the 24-hour college sports network ESPNU is distributed to over 73 million homes. ESPN also produces college football games that are broadcast on ABC and its online network, ESPN3.
Each year, a minimum of three home games will be carried on ESPN, ESPN2, or ABC. Additional games will be on ESPNU. At least one game each season will be carried live on BYUtv.
BYU played nine games on one of the ESPN networks in 2014 including seven on ESPN. Over the past four seasons, only 15 teams in the nation have had more games than BYU's 32 broadcasts on a major national television channel (ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX)
BYUtv is available in more than 55 million North American homes and is growing every month. It’s on the basic tier of both Dish and DirectTV and is carried by more than 500 cable systems. The network constructed its own state-of-the-art production building that will allow it to televise every game in HD, along with its HD truck with the capability of broadcasting while on the road.
Competing as an independent with TV partners ESPN and BYUtv also allows BYU the opportunity to play a unique schedule. Since 2011, BYU has played teams from the SEC, Pac-12, Big 12, ACC, American, Conference USA, Western Athletic Conference, Mountain West and fellow independent Notre Dame. For the upcoming 2015 season, the Cougars will compete against teams from the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12, MW, AAC, C-USA and the Northeast Conference. BYU has future games announced with LSU, Michigan State, Arizona, Mississippi State, Missouri, Washington, USC, UCLA, Cal, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Boise State, Virginia, Washington State, Stanford, Arizona State and Northern Illinois.
ADDITIONAL BYU FOOTBALL PROGRAMMING ON BYUtv
BYU is the only school in the country with nationally televised live 60-minute pregame and 30-60-minute postgame shows before and after every game–home or away–along with other special football-related content broadcast on BYUtv throughout the year.
BYUtv and BYU Radio also simulcast a daily news show—BYU Sports Nation—that airs each weekday from noon-1 p.m. ET/10-11 a.m. MT from Studio B at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo. The latest news and information about BYU sports are discussed each day by hosts Jarom Jordan and Spencer Linton.
BYUtv produces additional BYU football specials throughout the year to highlight events such as National Letter of Intent Day in February, BYU spring football in March and April, and the annual BYU Football National Media Day in June, which also includes live programming on ESPN3.
"Our goal is simply to find the most exposure for BYU football that we possibly can,” said Dave Brown, ESPN's vice president of programming and acquisition. “That's part of our partnership. Whether it comes from promotion, carrying the games, promoting the games and producing the games and giving them a first-class production, we put it out there and provide them with the best possible platforms for exposure that we can — and they take it from there."
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