The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Conference USA games to air on ESPN, ESPN2, CSTV

By Clark Castle

Editor in Chief

[email protected]


ESPN and Conference USA announced a six-year television contract that will last until the spring of 2011. The news comes less than six months before SMU’s move to the conference.

The deal includes 10 football games, six men’s basketball games and three women’s basketball games each year. The deal will also broadcast the championship games for each of the sports included, starting with the inaugural Conference USA Championship football game in 2005. All games will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 and CSTV.

“This is a wonderful announcement for Conference USA,” Commissioner Britton Banowsky said. “It represents a significant step in ensuring the success of our conference.”

Banowsky said the deal will increase the conference’s exposure significantly.

ESPN Senior Vice President John Wildhack said that ESPN is “pleased to extend [its] relationship with Conference USA.”

The goal, Wildhack said, is to “maximize the reach” of the conference.

SMU Athletic Director Jim Copeland believes the deal will increase SMU’s exposure.

“It’s an excellent deal in terms of money and exposure,” he said. “What’s significant is as we entered Conference USA, we were conservative on what would happen with a TV deal.”

“This agreement was such that we had no need to be conservative.”

SMU Head Football Coach Phil Bennett is also optimistic about the TV deal.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “One of the things we wanted out of Conference USA was more exposure.”

Currently, there is no regulation in terms of the number of appearances for each team according to Banowsky.

A concerned raised about the deal was the potential for Friday night games, which could cause conflicts in states that have strong high school football programs.

Banowsky said that the schedule would eventually be worked to avoid Friday games for teams in states such as Texas and Oklahoma so that those states could focus on high school football.

“There are some non-traditional nights,” Copeland said. “Certainly, we don’t want to conflict with high school games.”

Banowsky still insists that the conference wants to “have the flexibility” to schedule such games although it will try to avoid scheduling them.

Other night broadcasts that could occur include Tuesday and Thursday nights. These “non-traditional” nights would be new for SMU.

“If we have to do it, we’ll find a way to make it work,” Bennett said. “It does get you off-schedule, but you have to do those things to get the exposure.”

All parties involved with the deal agree that exposure is the biggest benefit of the TV deal.

Copeland believes it will help the football program’s recruiting efforts.

“I think especially the national exposure will help us both in Texas and outside of Texas,” he said.

Bennett agrees.

“The more visible you are, the more people take an interest in you,” he said. “It gives you a much broader scope for your program and your university.”

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