The MTN (Mountain West sports network) channel review

How the heck did they get the MTN out of Mountain West Sports Network. Wouldn't MWSN make more sense?

Are you a rabid fan of San Diego St. football? Do you pine to watch every game of the UNLV rebels? Are you a Mormon, and thus obligated to root for BYU? (take it easy...it's just a joke)

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you are just like 0.2% of the population of the United States, and enjoy watching sporting events centered around the Mountain West Conference.
The Mountain West Conference (MWC) is a relatively new college conference (~1999) formed by a group of schools in the mountain west (duh) region.
This conference is outside looking in on the "big 6" of the BCS conferences. Relatively speaking, the MWC is like the "teenager table" at Thanksgiving dinner. They no longer have to sit at the "kid's table" and are trying to muscle their way onto the adults table. Unfortunately, they are in the thick of puberty, and need a few more good years of seasoning until a seat is reserved for them.

In the olden days of TV (3 or 4 years ago) each local team simulcast a football or basketball game and sold the rights to a local station. You'd see almost every home game, and some road games...and it was free.
Then the MWC decided to create a sports channel that was solely dedicated to MWC sports. It would be all-MWC, all the time.
Colorado St. lacrosse? Check!!
Wyoming men's volleyball? Check!!
TCU intramural ping pong? Check!!
New Mexico's thriving meth industry? Not so much.

The concept was genius. The channel would be available across the country for those fans that lived out of state. They called it the MTN, and sold a bulk of the rights to Comcast and CBS.
This proved to be tricky as Comcast started asking exorbitant amounts of $$ to the Satellite providers to show the channel. Dish and Direct TV scoffed at the amount the MTN was asking, and football was not shown on any satellite provider the first year. This was a dark time in my life.

After a couple years of praying and giving sacrifices to many heathen gods, Direct TV picked up the channel. It was true...I finally had access to the channel.

Boy was that a let-down.

Try to picture an introductory college level broadcasting class experimenting at football games with roughly 2 cameras and a pro-bono announcing team....Oh wait, this was exactly the status of the MTN. The games were horrible.
We're lucky the cameramen weren't on the field playing defense as they only knew where the ball was about 42% of the time. The rest of the time you were entertained with random shots of field turf, head coaches drinking Gatorade, and old clips of Punky Brewster. The production, execution, and tv talent was horrible.
One bright spot was that it led to some entertaining moments if your team wasn't playing well.

As with all new products, the MTN needed to learn and grow...and they have. They have increased the number of cameras at each game, placed better broadcasters, and even have their own low-budget "Sportscenter" types of shows on the channel. They have even started broadcasting in HD for many games. You'd be surprised how nice field turf and Punky Brewster look in HD.

I suppose the most important thing are the games...and yes--I saw every football game and dozens of basketball games from my favorite college team. Most fans can't say the same unless they purchase college football packages costing hundreds of dollars a year.

The MTN pixelates it way to a solid 3-star rating, and is well on its way to a 4-star. Sure there may be a few spelling errors or candid shots of sports anchors fixing their microphones...who doesn't love that?
Be aware...DISH has still not signed a contract with the channel, so if you decided to choose the cheapest satellite route, you'll be out of luck.
Direct TV and numerous cable companies have the channel on differing packages across the country.


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