It is apparently up to Boise State whether its Nov. 6 game with the University of Hawaii will be shown nationally, a decision that has gone into overtime.
Yesterday was supposed to be the deadline by which the network had to announce its intention, but the issue dragged on last night as ESPN and Boise State continued to negotiate, according to parties familiar with the discussions.
Under terms of the Western Athletic Conference contract with ESPN, no school may have more than six of its games shown in the regular season via the WAC package without its approval. Boise State is scheduled for five and, because of the unbeaten Broncos’ run toward a possible national title game, ESPN would like to show both the regular-season-ending Dec. 4 game with Utah State and the UH game – both Broncos home games. But, as things stand now, ESPN must either choose one or the other or receive the Broncos’ approval.
If it is picked up, WAC officials said, it is likely to remain an afternoon game in Boise, though the kickoff could change from noon Mountain time.
In the past, Boise State has granted approval to exceed the ceiling on its appearances. Because Boise State played Virginia Tech under the Atlantic Coast Conference contract in the season opener, the Broncos could have eight national TV appearances in the regular season. Boise State plays Louisiana Tech on ESPN2 tonight.
Neither the UH-Boise State nor Boise State-Utah State games were picked up by ESPN during the summer scheduling period, meaning the network had a 12-day window in the fall in which to pick additional games if it became interested.
The WAC receives approximately $4.5 million per season from ESPN, which must show at least 10 games on the combination of ESPN and ESPN2 channels, and six on ESPNU.
Should UH and the Broncos each win this week, the Nov. 6 game will match the conference’s only unbeaten teams. UH is 6-2 overall and 4-0 in the WAC heading into Saturday’s game against Idaho, while the Broncos are 6-0 and 2-0 in the conference.
Because the UH-Boise State game was not selected during the summer period, it was included in the Oceanic Time Warner pay-per-view package sold in Hawaii, where it was the marquee game of an 18-event package. Selection now by ESPN would open the game to cable subscribers. It has not been announced if refunds would be due subscribers in the event ESPN picks up the game.
UH receives a guarantee rights fee and a share of the PPV proceeds as certain benchmarks are reached.