At the BYU Football Media Day on Tuesday, it was announced that all four ESPN channels are going to be made available on campus as well as BYU cable.
This is one of the many changes that has resulted from the announcement of BYU’s independence in football. ESPN access has previously been inaccessible on campus, but with at least 10 BYU games in 2011 contracted with the ESPN family of networks, the announcement of ESPN access on campus seemed to be only a matter of time. Dave Brown, vice president of programming at ESPN, talked about the new exposure during Tuesday’s Media Day.
“As the season starts out, the thing that I’m most excited about obviously is the fact that the first five games are going to be on ESPN or ESPN2,” Brown said. “[The first] eight games next year right from the get-go will also be on ESPN or ESPN2.”
BYU made the eight-year contract last September shortly after announcing its independence in football. In 2011, current plans include seven games scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN or ESPN 2 while three other games will be broadcast on one of ESPN’s family of networks. By the commencement of the football season on Sept. 3, BYU students will have the opportunity to watch games (both away and home) via BYU cable.
“We’ll be lucky to showcase a really exciting BYU brand of football. That’s just a tremendous opportunity for us [at ESPN] to work more closely with you guys,” Brown said. “I think this year will give you a glimpse of what we can do, but in the future, I think it will get even better.”
Derek Marquis, the general manager of BYU Broadcasting, said he was optimistic about BYU’s newfound affiliation with ESPN. He further explained some aspects of the ESPN campus availability.
“Every game will be rebroadcast,” Marquis said. “Every ESPN game will [also] be rebroadcast.”
Many students seem to be generally excited about this recent news. Joseph Mount, a 24-year-old senior studying business management, said he is excited about the convenience this will bring to himself and other BYU students.
“It’s good for students to be able to see the national recognition [BYU] is getting first-hand,” Mount said. “Especially since BYU puts so much emphasis on their athletic programs.”
Similarly, 23-year-old Dustin Blodgett, also a business management major from Walnut Creek, Calif., expressed his opinion on the subject.
“I thought it was almost depressing how BYU did not offer ESPN as one of their programs on campus,” Blodgett said. “This decision to include ESPN is fantastic. It should [make] students feel a little happier.”
Coach Bronco Mendenhall did not think it was an accident that ESPN decided to partner with BYU. He attributes the partnership to the number of wins and the overall quality of the program.
“There has to be a reason they want to partner with BYU,” Mendenhall said. “We certainly are grateful that they wanted to partner, and now it’s our job to uphold our end of the bargain.”