ESPN official on BYU: "We had conversations with them"
Interesting stuff in the Birmingham News today, a Q&A with ESPN executive Burke Mangus. As you know through the email trail we've published here and in the newspaper, Mangus, president of college sports programming, has been involved in talks with BYU as that school looks toward football independence. Here are the parts of the Q&A as they relate to BYU: Q: How attractive is BYU to television as an independent? "It's hard to say. You have to consider who they would be playing. BYU to me is a great brand and has a solid history of excellent performance on the fields and on the courts. I think they would have had a good time of it as an independent in terms of putting their best foot forward and build a BYU brand independently. Ultimately, their departure was a lot of rumors and until they actually make the leap, it's difficult to say."Q: How difficult would it be for ESPN to help set up enough home-and-home football games for BYU as an independent?"I think they could have slipped right into our mechanism to fill schedules and word would have spread pretty quickly that they had availability. They have a history of having pretty good teams coming to play in Provo. Texas just did a home-and-home with them. They had Notre Dame there over the years. I presume they'll continue to play Utah. I think it would have been an interesting proposition to have sort of the mountain version of Notre Dame."Q: Is it done now for BYU to be an independent since the Mountain West countered by adding Nevada and Fresno State from the WAC?"I'm not sure. I think they obviously have to evaluate a much different landscape than where they were a week ago."Q: There are reports that ESPN and BYU talked about a deal for four BYU home game on ESPN for up to $4 million. Is that accurate?"I can only say our company statement. We had conversations with them."
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