Bronco Beat

Boise State leads Mountain West in TV bonuses by large margin

Bryan Harsin, pre-Air Force I

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin's press conference in advance of the Air Force game. Part I of II.
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Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin's press conference in advance of the Air Force game. Part I of II.

Boise State will receive the largest share of Mountain West TV bonuses again for the 2015 football season.

The Mountain West uses a portion of its TV revenue to pay bonuses to members for appearances on ESPN, ESPN2 or the major broadcast networks. The bonuses are $300,000 for weekday games and $500,000 for Saturday games.

The system was negotiated by Boise State as part of its agreement to stay in the conference rather than join the American. And because Boise State also negotiated a deal that gives ESPN the rights to at least six Broncos games a year, Boise State is in a better position to capitalize on the system than other schools.

A couple reminders: Bonuses are paid only for Mountain West-controlled games, which generally means games played at MW stadiums. Hawaii doesn’t receive Mountain West TV money and isn’t part of the system. Also, the other 10 members (besides Boise State and Hawaii) have agreed to pool and share the bonuses they earn for games involving Boise State because Mountain Division teams get that opportunity more often than West Division teams (the pool included $800,000 this year).

This year, Boise State earned $1.6 million — $300,000 each for the Washington and Air Force games and $500,000 each for the Hawaii and Wyoming games. The Broncos could have fared much better if not for the loss to Utah State. ESPN put the games against UNLV and New Mexico on non-bonus ESPNU, which probably wouldn’t have happened if the Broncos had a better record.

Still, the Broncos earned $720,000 more than any other school. Wyoming, San Diego State and Nevada each earned $880,000.

Without the bonus system, the $6.8 million would have been distributed with $618,181 to each school. That means six schools profited from the system and six lost (see chart below).

Boise State received $2.1 million in 2014 and $1.6 million in 2013.

In three years of the system, Boise State has received a total of $5.3 million in bonuses. That’s $3.44 million more than the school would have received without the bonus system.

Here are this year’s bonus totals (note: this doesn’t include inconvenience fees members receive for playing weeknight and late-night games on non-bonus networks):

School (2015)

Bonuses

Pool $

Total

Boise State

$1.6m

$0

$1.6m

Wyoming

$800,000

$80,000

$880,000

Nevada

$800,000

$80,000

$880,000

San Diego State

$800,000

$80,000

$880,000

Fresno State

$600,000

$80,000

$680,000

Utah State

$600,000

$80,000

$680,000

Air Force

$500,000

$80,000

$580,000

UNLV

$300,000

$80,000

$380,000

Colorado State

$0

$80,000

$80,000

New Mexico

$0

$80,000

$80,000

San Jose State

$0

$80,000

$80,000

Hawaii

$0

$0

$0

Here’s how the schools have fared since the beginning of the system. The total bonus amount of $20.5 million would have provided $1.86 million per school if shared evenly. Only four schools have received that amount in the bonus system.

School (2013-15)

Bonuses

Pool $

Total

Boise State

$5.3m

$0

$5.3m

Fresno State

$2.7m

$260,000

$2.96m

Wyoming

$2.6m

$260,000

$2.86m

San Diego State

$1.6m

$260,000

$1.86m

Utah State

$1.5m

$260,000

$1.76m

Nevada

$1.4m

$260,000

$1.66m

San Jose State

$900,000

$260,000

$1.16m

New Mexico

$800,000

$260,000

$1.06m

Air Force

$800,000

$260,000

$1.06m

UNLV

$300,000

$260,000

$560,000

Colorado State

$0

$260,000

$260,000

Hawaii

$0

$0

$0

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