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The Mtn. will close up shop at the end of May, leaving TV coverage in flux

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV cheerleaders and Hey Reb perform before their game against Wyoming Saturday, March 3, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 74-63 to wind up an unbeaten season at home.

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.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. Thank god!...little by little we'll get there!

  2. Great news... the conference really limited the exposure of the program which hurt us in recruiting this year.

  3. Good riddance.

  4. The Mtn got a little more with the program this past year showing more games, but damn were they behind the curve since being around since 2006.

    This change is good, very good.

  5. The concept of having your own network is absolutely the best way to do it. That's why so many bigger conference copied us. It's the piss poor management and decision making that doomed the network. If they don't open the untelevised games to the school then you'll be wishing for a crappy program back so we can at least see the game. Even if it's grainy and postponed due to a women's game. I'm glad it's gone but only because of the horrible deals that came with it. But what ever conference we go to or form needs to have its own network, just keep the crappy deals away.

  6. If there is a lesson to learn from the mtn., it is that the conference shouldn't negotiate regional TV contracts. The PAC-12 learned from this, and set up regional networks for their schools, two schools to a region.

    Now at least UNLV can negotiate the non-national games to be seen. We will see if Livengood can negotiate a decent deal.

  7. Remember the UNLV-New Mexico game at the Thomas and Mack in early 2010? The first half was not broadcast because The Mtn was televising a women's game in multiple overtimes. WHY COULDN'T THE MTN STREAM THE VIDEO ONLINE? They could have run a crawl at the bottom of the screen on the women's game to tell viewers to log on to see the game. But NOOOOOO! Those idiots do not understand broadcasting or modern technology. They must think we are living in 1980. You could buy a subscription and hear the audio of most games, but not see the video. THIS IS A PRETEND-NETWORK AND IT DESERVED TO DIE. I AM GLAD THAT IT IS GOING AWAY!

  8. Thank Goodness. The Mountain was nothing more than a disguise for the Mountain Conference. Last year they focused on BYU sports. This year they focused on Boise State and then Boise State decided to leave the conference. The Mountain never really gave equal coverage to the conference teams. No big loss.

  9. I have never seen a comment thread with such agreement. And rightly so. The Mtn. was a noble effort that was doomed by a lack of funding and poor execution. Goodbye Mtn. You will not be missed all that much.

    Fingers are crossed for the future.

  10. I hope we can get an ESPN deal. Our program is on the rise, and this would take us over the top.

  11. I hope by 2016 if the Pac 12 adds teams we would be ready. I have no desire to travel to Fresno, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado.I hope Livengood still has kept old relations from his days at Arizona with other Pac12 Athletic Directors and beg them to let us in. Good for road trips good fans and their Commissioner negotiated a great deal for them. We are in the same time zone, travel is short to USC, UCLA, Arizona, ASU and I've been up to the Northwest and it's beautiful.
    Lets get ready to compete but we have no business being aligned with Mountain time zone schools. The Mountain West was more of a mouth piece for the lesser schools that did not get much regional attention. UNLV and the city Vegas is a popular site outside of Vegas. Every where I travel and mention Vegas and UNLV people respond very positively.
    I would love to go to pac12 one day it's a perfect fit!

  12. Couple of things: 1) Having been associated with ESPN in the past and having to play games at all odd hours and days I cannot see us doing it again. 2) Us getting into the PAC12 in the next ten years is a stretch. The only program we would measure up to is bb. Playing against the likes of Fresno, New Mexico, CSU, Wyoming, Hawaii and the like is a struggle for us now in other than bb. It would be wonderful to have athletic programs that would be competitive in the PAC12 but I sure haven't seen it in the last 40 years.

  13. @ NoCalExPat 1)Pac 12 is not a stretch if we build a decent football stadium and get that program mildly respectable - remember their basketball has been pretty awful and we are on the way up. We only need to get those 2 on track; everything else will follow. 2) Odd hours on a network that is in hd and seen in most subscriber's homes is better than good hours on a network that is in sd and seen in few subscriber's homes. A major factor in TCU leaving the Moutain West was the rotten tv coverage.

  14. Stop with the PAC 12 talk, UNLV doesn't fit in athletically or academically, and no football stadium is going to change that. I'm not saying that UNLV is a bad school but you have to look in the mirror and know where you fit. UNLV belongs in a conference w/ UNR and Fresno and Tulsa and that's not a bad thing. It's going to be a pretty good conference that deserves AQ, and w/ a good TV deal could get SDSU and Boise back.

  15. Check link below of best universities, all PAC 12 schools are in top 150, UNLV is "Rank Not Published"

    rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities

  16. Rankings? Who cares about silly rankings? Simply put, if UNLV can get it's football house in order, conferences will come calling. If memory serves, SDSU wasn't on anyone's radar a couple of years ago, and their football program isn't vastly better than UNLV's, yet a name conference picks them up because they've shown improvement in their program. In my mind, UNLV has vastly better brand recognition, so if the fortunes turn for Hauck and the Rebels, and an on-campus stadium can be built, I think the sky is the limit.

  17. Not all BCS conferences are created equal. The
    PAC 12 cares about rankings. The PAC 12 does not want SDSU. UNLV has a better chance of getting an invite from the big east than it does the PAC 12, if it improves football, and that ain't happening with Bill Parcells and Texas Stadium on Paridise. I have a better chance of getting a phone call from Heidi Klum than UNLV has of getting one from the PAC 12

  18. Completely disagree UNLV has just signed the Pac12 BB tourney here. If you have an on campus site and the developers from Silverton (Staples Center) create an Austin like atmosphere for football among other attractions we could be a hit. Can we compete...Damn Skippy....Colsieum is dump takes forever to get in and out, same as Rose Bowl. No booze sold.
    Golf solid
    Swimming solid
    Basketball solid
    Education much improved and getting better
    Pac 12 just wants more markets like everyone else we got 4 years to pull it off a lot can happen. UNLV has a lot to offer maybe not now but 4 years from now?

  19. And there is no way we're going to the Big East...that is just plain stupid!

  20. Comment removed by moderator. Name Calling