Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, April 5, 2012 | 2:30 p.m.
The Mtn., the much-maligned television station devoted to Mountain West Conference athletics, will go dark on May 31. CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports, which are 50 percent ownership partners of The Mtn., made the decision to shut it down.
“This is simply one step in the ongoing, evolutionary process which is focused on developing a new organization and structure for our member institutions,” Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said in a statement. “The goals continue to be creating greater stability, broader exposure platforms and increased revenue, and we are progressing in each of those areas with the appropriate parties.”
SBJ’s John Ourand first reported Thursday that sources said the 44 employees of the network were informed of the news at an afternoon meeting in their Denver headquarters. Sources told Ourand that the league is close to a deal with CBS Sports Network that put upcoming football and basketball games in more homes than they were before.
The decision isn’t all that surprising considering the recent turnover in the league and, more importantly, the MWC/C-USA merger that’s on the horizon.
This could be a good thing for UNLV. It’s possible that games not picked up by the CBS or NBC networks will be available for each institution to sell individually. And considering the men’s basketball team should be ranked at the start of the season, they may have their pick of any network.
Fans’ complaints about The Mtn. often included the lack of HD coverage for several games and simply not having the channel. The Mtn. was available in 13 million homes, according to Ourand’s story. CBS Sports Network is in 45 million.
The Mtn. debuted on Sept. 1, 2006, as the first network devoted to one collegiate athletic conference, preceding the Big Ten and Pac 12 channels.