If you’re not a fan of the Mountain West Conference, this item is a bit like the old riddle about the tree falling in an empty forest. Except instead of a tree, it’s a cable network.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports The Mtn., the regional all-sports network that was home to six of Air Force’s 13 football games last year as well as scores of contests in other sports, will go off the air for good May 31. When it came to the forest of pay TV, the network barely made a sound outside its home region, leaving the naturally far-flung Air Force fans (those without DirectTV, anyway) without a way to see their team play.
The Gazette’s Frank Schwab blogs a bit about what might happen next: CBS Sports Network will take over the broadcast rights left behind by The Mtn., and games could end up there or on NBC Sports Network (which used to be Versus, which used to be the Outdoor Life Network, which might’ve aired home shopping, at some point). Or, the rights could be sold to another network. Or, as Schwab points out, the rights for some home football games (read: not the popular ones) could revert back to the school itself, meaning the school would need to find a willing TV partner to spend the tens of thousands needed to put on a quality football broadcast in exchange for ad revenue.
One possible bright side, especially for the cable-disinclined: The Mtn. didn’t stream games over the Internet, something that could be part of a new broadcast package.
An early test for how hard it’ll be to see your Falcons: The Sept. 1 home opener against Idaho State, which most national cable networks would pass on fairly quickly. If your rabbit ears are big enough to pick that one up, you should be good for the rest of the season.