The future of pro sports on television is in limbo as Bally Sports’ financial struggles finally came to a head. Last week, the regional sports network conglomerate missed a payment to the Diamondbacks and is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy soon.
The dire situation of RSNs has left college football unscathed for the most part, as MLB, NHL, and the NBA are most affected by the recent struggles of RSNs. However, one school escaped disaster just in time.
Throughout its time as an independent and even in its time in the Sun Belt, New Mexico State has produced and distributed its games through AggieVision, an in-house company. AggieVision distributed these broadcasts to Comcast Sports NM and Bally Sports Arizona (formerly Fox Sports Arizona). This deal supplemented a streaming deal with Flosports which simulcasted the AggieVision produced broadcasts.
Now, the Aggies will receive an exponential exposure increase with Conference USA’s TV deal which has CBS Sports Network as a primary partner and ESPN as a secondary partner. This contract also does not factor in the possibility of El Paso and Las Cruces’ CW station simulcasting games that CBS Sports Network does not pick up and increasing viewership in the El Paso/Las Cruces market.
Had the Aggies not received a Conference USA invite, their broadcast situation would have been questionable at best. Bally Sports Arizona has a reach of 2.5 million homes in Arizona and New Mexico, despite the decline of cable and satellite services.
Losing Bally Sports Arizona as a TV distribution partner would have virtually eliminated New Mexico State football’s television footprint outside of the El Paso/Las Cruces market as the El Paso/Las Cruces CW would likely have been the only linear TV partner for the Aggies.
New Mexico State has always been a tough place to recruit, but the challenges would have been immense if their only streaming/TV partners were Flosports, Comcast New Mexico, and a local CW station. Aggies fans have even more reason to be grateful for the lifeline that was Conference USA.