The Mtn. to Close in Wake of Upheaval in College Conference Landscape


The Mtn., the regional sports network for the Mountain West Conference, will go dark on June 1.
Jointly owned by CBS Sports Network and NBCUniversal and operated by the latter, the Mtn, was the first conference-specific RSN, when it kicked off in 2006. The 13-million home network, which had its difficulties over the years in securing carriage, is a casualty of college conference restructuring and the uncertainty surrounding the Mountain West, which has already seen BYU, Utah and TCU defect, with San Diego State and Boise State scheduled to migrate as well. Its future was further clouded by movement toward some form of alignment with Conference USA. Such a business play could put the base of schools from those two entities across five time zones.
"This network would have never been formed today, given the teams that have left and are about to leave," said one source familiar with the situation. "Its future is clearly uncertain
In shuttering its operations, 44 Mtn. employees were informed at the network's Denver headquarters on April 5 that May 31 will the network's last day and they will lose their jobs. The staffers will be given severance packages and priority opportunities to find work at Comcast RSNs, including its channel in Houston that will tip off this fall.
On the TV side, CBS Sports Network and the Mountain West are close to finalizing an agreement that will give the programmer rights to add football and basketball games to air on the 45-million home network, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. Some other product figures to be sublicensed; Versus, the predecessor to NBC Sports Network, has televised some of the conference's contests in the past. There also figures to be efforts made to distribute some of the games to local outlets.