Report: The Mtn. Sports Network Shutting Down in May

Sources have told John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily that the Mtn. sports network will cease operations on May 31st. The networks 44 employees were informed of the plan today during a meeting at their Denver headquarters.

Jointly owned by NBC Universal & CBS Sports Network, the Mtn. was the first conference specific network and started a trend that has been followed by the Big Ten Network and the soon to launch Pac-12 networks.

According to Ourand’s story, CBS Sports Network is close to finalizing a deal for Mountain West conference’s rights. This is a healthy move for the conference leading to greater national distribution of football & basketball. CBS Sports Network is in 45 million homes while the Mtn. only reached 16 million.

The network seems to be a victim of conference realignment (AKA the great college football money grab). After losing three of it’s premiere programs (TCU, BYU & Utah) over the last few years, there was a great deal of uncertainty over the strength of the conference and the ability to grow distribution without those schools.

I worked at a network (CNN/Sports Illustrated) that was shut down after 8 years. The “Welcome to the End of Our Network” meetings are just awful. You spend most of the time looking around the room, realizing you won’t be working with so many of your friends and respected co-workers anymore. (And then fighting with those same people over open jobs)

According to Station VP/Production & Programming Steve Hurlbut employees were told that they would get a severance package and will be given priority for open jobs at NBC Sports’ RSNs, such as Comcast SportsNet Houston, which is launching in October and in the process of filling more than 100 open positions.

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Article by Brian Clapp

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