The Mtn. Network will be no longer after May 31st, 2012. The Sports Business Journal Daily is reporting that the network will cease operations in less then two months. Other outlets are also confirming the report now. There are had been rumblings that this was possible and it became official today. The network launched in 2006 but was only able to reach 13 million Americans. Dish never carried the channel and Comcast gave it only limited distribution.
Looks like negotiations are happening between the Mountain West and CBS Sports to pick up games that the Mtn would have broadcast in 2012-13. With the merger/alliance between CUSA being finalized over the next two months the future of the Mtn was cast in to doubt. It needed to be dissolved in order to create new or share broadcasting rights in 2013.
So what does this mean for Wyoming fans? Plenty.
First off I loved the Mtn, it was the first channel to be devoted to just one conference. It was a great concept that just wasn't utilized properly. The distribution never expanded enough for out of market fans to watch games. DirecTV was your only option if you lived outside of the regional footprint of the channel. It's lack of HD broadcasting was also a struggle. Football games and the Mountain West basketball tournament were the only events shown in HD.
Despite it's shortcomings the Mtn was a fantastic network for Wyoming fans. The Cowboys got more then their fair share of coverage thanks to being close the network headquarters in Denver. Brent Brown a UW alum did a number of great stories on current and former Wyoming athletes. Stories that never would have been told if a TV deal was with a larger network like ESPN. There was always solid season preview and review shows as well as great recruiting coverage. All-22 provided great X's and O's breakdown for entire hour during football season. No other network had a program like that.
For a small market like Wyoming the Mtn was really a great partner. What has me worried is that CBS Sports will have first shot at picking up the home Cowboy basketball and football games. For the games not chosen there may be no broadcast at all. If Wyoming can sell the rights to those games then that would help. I am going to miss knowing that every conference football and basketball game will be broadcast. Many fans may not realize what a good thing we had until it is gone.
I wish all the 44 employees of the Mtn the best and hope they can all find new positions quickly.
Here is a statement from Craig Thompson regarding the end of the Mtn.