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MountainWest Sports Network
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MountainWest Sports Network
The Mtn.
Launched September 1, 2006
Closed June 1, 2012
Owned by Mountain West Conference (30%)
Comcast (30%)
CBS Corporation (40%)
Country United States
Headquarters Centennial, Colorado
Website themtn.tv
(former; now redirects to Comcast SportsNet homepage)

MountainWest Sports Network, informally known as the mtn. (pronounced as the mountain), was an American regional sports network dedicated to the Mountain West Conference. It launched on September 1, 2006 at the start of the 2006–07 academic year. It was shut down on June 1, 2012 due to the Mountain West Conference's ongoing realignment. Most properties were taken by NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network.[1]

HistoryEdit

The Mtn. premiered on September 1, 2006 as the first network dedicated to a college athletic conference - the Division I Mountain West Conference (MWC). The Mtn. annually produced and aired more than 170 collegiate sporting events, including football, basketball, Olympic sports, and conference championship coverage. The Mtn.’s expanded coverage included news programming, coaches’ shows, pre and post game analysis and feature programming about MWC athletics. The Mtn. was owned by the conference, Comcast, and CBS Corporation. Despite CBS owning the largest stake, Comcast handled much of its operation.

ClosureEdit

On April 5, 2012 it was announced that the Mtn. would cease operations on June 1, 2012.[2] With the Mtn's closure, the Mountain West had not announced formal broadcast plans for 2012–2013, though a Colorado Springs Gazette report suggested that some MWC games might be picked up by CBS Sports Network and/or NBC Sports Network, or offered to a third party such as ESPN.[3] Eventually all three networks picked up some MWC games while Root Sports Rocky Mountain picked up a cable package of games. Additional games were shown on Comcast, Time Warner, and Charter Cable Networks or on third tier local stations.

ProgrammingEdit

Live eventsEdit

The network covered over 800 live sporting events in its first four years of operation. Details of football and basketball telecasts are listed in the events section below. Also on the schedule are current and former Olympic sports like baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and track and field. The Mtn. airs pregame and post game shows from its suburban Denver, Colo. studios in support of most of the network's live event coverage, including football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball and softball. Halftime shows take place for all football and men's and women's basketball game telecasts.

Studio showsEdit

  • All-22 - Each week, the MWC football coaches trade game video via web-based technology called DragonFly. The Mtn. has received access to this content, which provides a bird's-eye-view of the field of play, enabling the studio analysts to dissect team strategies, performances and keys to success.
  • Around the Mountain - Brings together some of the best sportswriters and bloggers from across the Mountain West region for an entertaining discussion and debate about the latest developments and trends across the Conference and beyond.
  • It's a Numbers Game - Fantasy football players and stats enthusiasts alike will enjoy It’s a Numbers Game as host Scott Sarra takes viewers past the highlights and deep into the trends and box scores.
  • Mountain Sports Report - Mountain Sports Report, presented by Dodge debuted Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010. This 30-minute news program airs live Tuesday through Friday at 5:30 p.m. MT and on Saturdays at 10 p.m. MT or after the final game scheduled that evening. The program replays several times each evening, schedule permitting. Mountain Sports Report, presented by Dodge features scores and highlights plus provides previews and feature stories from across the Mountain West Conference. Network anchors Marius Payton and Bill Doleman along with Natalie Vickers host the program.
  • Mountain West Football Saturday - Airs at 11 a.m. MT every Saturday throughout the football season beginning in August with one full hour of features, stories and previews of the upcoming games of the day. Expert analysis along with in-depth reporting and compelling storylines break down the key match-ups and prepare viewers for all the upcoming action. Marius Payton and Bill Doleman host, with expert analysis provided on a rotating basis by Joe Glenn, Jay Leeuwenburg, Kelly Stouffer and Ted Sundquist.
  • Season and championship preview and reviews shows for all Mountain West Conference sanctioned sports air throughout the year.

Former showsEdit

The Mountain View (final show 9/3/10), The Mountain Cap, Mountain Peak Performances (final show 9/1/10) and On Campus Cam have been canceled. On Campus Cam, which featured a panel of students from different institutions across the Mountain West Conference, was rolled into Around the Mountain, presented by Jeep roughly once per month.

Documentaries/reality showsEdit

  • A Day in the Life - Gave viewers the opportunity to look into the daily lives of student-athletes and other personalities from Conference institutions.
  • A Conversation with... - Combines interviews with participatory journalism with one-on-one interviews with prominent individuals from across the Mountain West Conference.
  • Legends - Profiles of former MWC players and coaches. Debuted August 27, the day of its DirecTV debut, with Lavell Edwards. Other "Legends" have included Jerry Tarkanian, Amy Van Dyken and Chad Hennings.
  • Rivalries - Looks at each Mountain West Conference institution's biggest rival from an athletic and casual fan's point of view across multiple sports.
  • Season Pass - The Mtn. presents an insider’s look into the Colorado State men’s basketball team and the UNLV women’s basketball squad in 2011 with these two new original programs: Season Pass: Colorado State Men’s Basketball and Season Pass: UNLV Women’s Basketball. Both shows are a continuation under a more appropriate title of The Mtn.’s successful original program, Reaching the Peak, which in past seasons has featured the TCU baseball team, Colorado State men’s basketball and football teams, and the Wyoming football team. Each show provides viewers an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look into athletic programs across the Mountain West Conference that delves into the lives of the student-athletes. Season Pass will follow both programs from the first days of practice through the 2011 Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships. Unique elements from the prior seasons will return in Season Pass: Colorado State Men’s Basketball, including Miles a Minute, Player Profiles (“The Roster”) and The Rams’ Glossary. Player Profiles and the Lady Rebels Glossary will apply to Season Pass: UNLV Women’s Basketball. Both shows will incorporate a player version of Coach ‘em Up called This Is My Game, which features different players demonstrating a how-to on various on-court techniques. Additional web-only segments will be available throughout the season exclusively at www.themtn.tv.

Hosts, broadcasters and analystsEdit

AwardsEdit

The Mtn. received 28 Emmy Award nominations and won five times. The network has also garnered three Promax/BDA nominations and won two Promax Awards. In 2009, The Mtn. was a finalist in the Live Game or Live Event for Corporate Entities category at the SVG/NATAS Global Media Awards for College Sports.

DistributionEdit

The Mtn. was available in all nine MWC markets on the following providers:

  • Satellite
  • Cable
    • All West Communications (Utah, Wyoming)
    • Baja Broadband (Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah)
    • Bresnan Communications (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming)
    • Broadweave Networks (Utah)
    • CableONE (Idaho, New Mexico)
    • CC Communications (Nevada)
    • Centracom Interactive (Utah)
    • Champion Broadband (Colorado, Wyoming)
    • Comcast (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah)
    • CommuniComm (Colorado, Texas, Wyoming)
    • Cox (Arizona, California, Nevada)
    • Emery Telecom Video (Utah)
    • Independent Cable Systems of Idaho (Idaho)
    • Levan Cable (Utah)
    • Manti Tele Communications Company (Utah)
    • Orbitel Communications (Arizona)
    • Prime Time Communications (Utah)
    • Project Mutual Telephone (Idaho)
    • Provo Cable (Utah)
    • RigidTech (Wyoming)
    • CenturyLink (Colorado, Utah)
    • Reliance Connects (Nevada)
    • Rural Telephone Company (Idaho)
    • Saratoga Cable (Utah)
    • Silver Star Communications (Wyoming)
    • South Central Communications (Utah)
    • Spanish Fork Community Network (Utah)
    • Strata Networks (Utah)
    • Suddenlink Communications (Texas)
    • Sweetwater Cable Television (Wyoming)
    • TCT (Wyoming)
    • USA Communications (Colorado)
  • Online
    • Comcast.net (highlights only)

Distribution controversyEdit

On June 1, 2007, the presidents of Brigham Young University and the University of Utah, unsatisfied with the current distribution, issued a joint press release that they "retained a sports broadcasting attorney to explore all possible options in improving the distribution of athletic broadcasts to their fans".[4]

On June 5, 2007 the MWC Board "reaffirmed its unanimous support of the league's television model and its commitment to working collectively as a unified group", and its Directors unanimously voted to join BYU and Utah to retain the attorney they had hired.[5]

In an interview with KUTV, President Michael K. Young of Utah stated that "Every [MWC member] knows...President Samuelson and I have been clear about this for the last year and a half that it is absolutely essential that we get on satellite to make our games available to our fans. Anything short of that is unacceptable." He then added that "We are passionately committed to our having our football games being on TV this year."[6]

Since Time Warner Cable does not have a carriage agreement with The Mtn., it is unavailable on cable in 2 areas in MWC's market: The Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and a significant portion of San Diego County.

As of November 3, 2007 Precis Communications which services roughly 25 rural areas throughout Utah, Nevada and Arizona has refused to carry The Mtn. unless they are allowed to put it on a tier package.[citation needed] Comcast states that it is a requirement that it comes with expanded basic service. Precis Communications has stated that "in order to pay for the cost of having The Mtn. we would either have to have it on a tier or raise all our customers rates by 2 to 3 dollars, which would dissatisfy our customers who do not want The Mtn."[citation needed] These disputes are similar to those that Big Ten Network had its in first year on the air.

MWC institutionsEdit

Events coveredEdit

  • 30 live football games, all presented in HD
  • 70 men's basketball games
  • 26 women's basketball games
  • Over 40 "Olympic" events, inclusive of baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer
  • Coverage of other "Olympic" sports events, showcasing tennis, golf, gymnastics, track and field and swimming and diving
  • Over 170 live events in total
  • Conoco Mountain West Conference men's basketball tournament 8/9 seed game and quarterfinals
  • Conoco Mountain West Conference women's basketball tournament second round and semifinals
  • Conoco Mountain West Conference Baseball Championship

The Mtn. HDEdit

The Mtn. HD was a 1080i high definition simulcast of The Mtn. that launched on November 22, 2008 at 11 AM MT. The first show on the new HD version of the channel was MWC Football Saturday, followed by two football games in HD: first Colorado State at Wyoming, then the Brigham Young at Utah rivalry game.[7]

Starting in 2010, all football games aired in HD, as well the 2011 Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships.[8]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Information on specific programs comes from the half-hour special This is the Mtn., which aired in conjunction with the DirecTV launch. See also:


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