The Boise State-Utah State football game has been set for 8:15 p.m. Nov. 29 on ESPN2.
Boise State will get another $500,000 TV bonus for the game, bringing its total to $2.1 million this season.
The Utah State game will be the Broncos’ sixth kickoff at 8 p.m. or later this season — including four out of six home games. If the Broncos reach the Mountain West championship game, that will be at 8 p.m. Dec. 6 at Albertsons Stadium, too (CBS).
The other two home games were Fridays at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“Those night kickoffs are going to be a part of our program for the time being,” Athletic Director Mark Coyle said Monday. “We have four or five years left on that current TV deal. We've got to find a balance. I've talked to (Mountain West Commissioner Craig) Thompson about that, he understands that. At the same time, that exposure you're getting on ESPN is tremendous. I can tell you when you talk to student-athletes in our program, one of the things they talk about is how nice it is to be able to play on ESPN and have their families be able to watch them play, but at the same time you've got to find that balance with your season-ticket holders.
“Nevada, that's our closest road trip and we landed at almost 4 o'clock in the morning on Sunday morning after the game. It's late nights from that standpoint, too. I think that's something we need to address as a conference.”
Here is the story I did earlier this season on why ESPN likes the late games.
The TV contracts with ESPN and CBS run through 2019-20, which covers five more football seasons.
For the second straight year, Boise State was the largest beneficiary of the Mountain West’s TV bonus system — a system installed as part of the Broncos’ decision to stay in the conference.
Teams receive $300,000 for appearing in a Mountain West-controlled game on a weekday and $500,000 for appearing in a Mountain West-controlled game on a Saturday, as long as those games are on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox. The money is distributed out of the Mountain West’s annual TV revenue and whatever is left is distributed 11 ways (Hawaii does not receive TV money).
This year, the bonus total is $7 million. If that money had been evenly distributed, each school would have received $636,364. So each school’s impact from the bonus is how much more or less than that total it received.
This year’s numbers:
Boise State: $2.1 million bonus, $1,463,636 benefit
Wyoming: $1.3 million, $663,636
Utah State: $1.1 million, $463,636
Fresno State: $1.1 million, $463,636
Colorado State: $500,000, minus-$136,364
Nevada: $300,000, minus-$336,364
New Mexico: $300,000, minus-$336,364
San Jose State: $300,000, minus-$336,364
UNLV, San Diego State, Air Force: No bonuses, minus-$636,364 each
For two years, Boise State has made an additional $2.45 million off the bonus system.
Last year, the bonus total was $6.7 million. Here’s how the schools have fared in the first two years of the system combined (benefit based on $1,245,454 if all 11 received same money):
Boise State: $3.7 million, $2,454,546 benefit
Fresno State: $2.4 million, $1,154,546
Wyoming: $2.3 million, $1,054,546
Utah State: $1.4 million, $154,546
San Jose State: $900,000, minus-$345,454
San Diego State: $800,000, minus-$445,454
New Mexico: $800,000, minus-$445,454
Nevada: $600,000, minus-$645,454
Colorado State: $500,000, minus-$745,454
Air Force: $300,000, minus-$945,454
UNLV: $0, minus-$1,245,454
A couple notes: Boise State fares best in the system by design. The Broncos are guaranteed a minimum of $900,000 in bonus games in their contract with ESPN and the Mountain West. Also, ESPN owns the rights to six Boise State games a year, which means the Broncos likely will be on ESPN the most. Wyoming has been fortunate to have late-season games against Fresno State and Boise State the past two years, which has brought the Cowboys an extra $1 million. Utah State made most of its money this year, coming off a division title last year. Colorado State and Air Force likely will get big bumps next year.
In addition to the bonuses, the Mountain West implemented a $50,000 inconvenience fee this year for games played after 7 p.m. local time for non-bonus TV networks. The fee goes to the home team. Boise State received $100,000 this year. Nevada got $200,000, Fresno State got $150,000, UNLV got $100,000 and Wyoming, San Jose State, Utah State and San Diego State each got $50,000.
The Mountain West recognized the importance of Boise State’s fake punt against San Diego State by naming sophomore linebacker Chris Santini the special teams player of the week Monday.
Boise State trailed 23-10 in the third quarter Saturday and was about to go three-and-out for the second straight drive to start the second half.
Instead, coaches green-lighted a fake punt on fourth-and-4 from their own 32-yard line. Santini took the direct snap and rumbled 24 yards for a first down.
The Broncos scored a touchdown on the drive — the first of 21 consecutive points for the team. The 38-29 win was the largest comeback victory for the Broncos in at least 30 seasons.
“When we have plays like that, it just changes the whole outlook of the game and it really gave us some wind in our sails and we were able to just get going after that,” junior tailback Jay Ajayi said.
Air Force QB Kale Pearson (11-for-15, 129 yards, 3 TDs, 109 rushing yards, TD vs. Nevada) was the offensive player of the week. Hawaii linebacker TJ Taimatuia (11 tackles in shutout vs. San Jose State) was the defensive player of the week.
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