BYU and ESPN have agreed to a 7-year deal to televise BYU’s home football games, according to Brett McMurphy of Stadium Sports. The contract also guarantees BYU a bowl game when the Cougars are bowl eligible.
BYU & ESPN have agreed on 7-year deal thru 2026 season for the network to televise BYU’s home football games, sources told @Stadium. The deal also will guarantee the Cougars a contracted bowl game each year when bowl-eligible— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 3, 2019
Financials of the deal have not been reported, but it is likely BYU got a pay raise as part of the extension. BYU will have multiple Power 5 games on its home schedule for the years to come, meaning ESPN can get those games at a discounted rate compared to typical Power 5 games.
Tom Holmoe said in media day this offseason that BYU would extend its contract with ESPN, but details with the bowl agreement were still being finalized. “You have the home games side of it and the bowl season part, but the bowl season is a little bit more nuanced,” Holmoe said.
One possibility for the bowls is that BYU could have a tiered approached. For example, if BYU were to win 6 or 7 games they could head to a lower tier bowl such as the Idaho Potato bowl. Win 8 or 9 plus games, and they could head to a more attractive bowl like the Holiday Bowl or the Vegas Bow. This is speculation, but it could be part of the “nuanced” part that Holmoe mentioned.
On a larger scale, this speaks to the sustainability of independence. Power 5 is the main goal, but BYU will get a larger paycheck from ESPN as an independent than they would if they were in a Group of 5 conference. ESPN views BYU as a valuable enough TV partner to extend them out for 7 seasons.
Another potential part to watch is if BYU will have any games on ESPN Plus. BYU fans got their first taste of the $5/month fee when BYU played at Toledo, so it will be interesting if ESPN Plus is part of the official announcement.