Bronco Beat

Mountain West’s TV bonus structure changes; here’s how it affects Boise State

On Wednesday, the Mountain West announced the national television slate for the upcoming football season. In past years, that meant figuring out the bonuses each school would be due, but change has come.

No longer will the conference give bonuses to schools for appearing on major channels like CBS, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, but instead will move to a more equal distribution model.

“We have institutions that get $500,000 in television revenue and some that get $1.5 million, just by the luck of the draw,” commissioner Craig Thompson told the Reno Gazette-Journal in July. “We have an institution that hasn’t had one of the top-five win-loss records in the league in football and they’ve made the third-most TV revenue just because of the luck of the draw: ESPN needs an ESPN2 game on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. on Oct. 29 and the schedule works out, so you get the golden ticket.”

The Idaho Statesman was able to obtain details on just how it will work this season.

The conference determined the formula and bonus structure was not performing as it had been intended. Now, Boise State’s membership agreement and its ESPN deal were honored, meaning the school gets $1.8 million up front annually. That’s the average bonus payout Boise State got from 2013-15 under the contract it agreed to when deciding to stay in the Mountain West. The remaining revenue will be divided among the 11 football-playing schools outside Hawaii, worth approximately $1.1 million per year, meaning a total of $2.9 million for Boise State.

Under the previous system, schools made a $500,000 bonus for appearing on ESPN or ESPN2 on Saturdays, or $300,000 for appearing on those channels during the week. In 2016, the Broncos netted $2.4 million in bonuses.

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