BYU stays mum on financial details of ESPN, WCC deals

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PROVO -- BYU's decision to go independent in football and join the West Coast Conference in all other sports carries with it financial and business impacts.

The terms emphasized in Wednesday's press conference were "access" and "exposure." The two lead to increased income for the football program as well as a recruiting tool for the school.


In 1990, 16th anked BYU took on the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes. Ty Detmer's touchdown pass to Mike Salido in the fourth quarter sealed a BYU upset.

The game was a big deal, especially to former BYU athletic director Rondo Fehlberg.

"The BYU-Miami game I watched from midnight to 4 a.m. in the morning in London live," Fehlberg said.

Fehlberg gained a reputation for doing whatever it took to catch his beloved Cougs -- having VHS tapes overnighted to Europe, even renting satellite trucks when he lived in Texas.

Wednesday's announcement of BYU's 8-year contract with ESPN, Fehlberg says, is a long time coming.

"Instantly it gives people who want access to the BYU product access to the BYU product," he said.

That will be key in introducing BYU to a national and international audience, starting in 2011. Games will also be available on demand online. A six-game deal over 10 years with Notre Dame will boost that.

"This entire enterprise is not about money," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said.

Holmoe didn't list a dollar figure during the press conference. It's estimated that Notre Dame's contract with NBC is in the ballpark of $15 million. BYU's is likely not that much, but significantly more than $1.5 million they get from the Mountain West Conference now.

"BYU will probably make as much alone as some conferences get in their conference contracts," Fehlberg says.

As for the exposure, the deal will introduce BYU to a brand new audience. Fehlberg says the university is already receiving interest from possible future players who probably wouldn't have paid much attention to the program before.


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