Report: ESPN and BYU agree to contract extension for football telecasts

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) dives for a late touchdown as BYU hosts USC, NCAA football in Provo on Saturday Sept. 14, 2019.

Provo • Although negotiations took longer than expected, BYU and ESPN have agreed on a seven-year deal to televise BYU’s home football games, according to Brett Murphy of Stadium Sports. The new contract will also guarantee BYU a bowl game when the Cougars are bowl eligible.

BYU officials, however, have yet to confirm the deal. One source said details of the situation would be announced “when everything is finalized.”

Talks of getting new contracts with the sports broadcasting giant have circulated since the summer. Both of BYU’s contracts — one for bowl placement and the other for the broadcasting of up to five BYU football home games per year — were set to expire at the end of the 2019 season.

[Read more: BYU, ESPN closing in on a new deal that will keep Cougar football with the sports network]

Many believed the news would be announced during BYU’s annual Football Media Day in June, but it wasn’t.

Athletic director Tom Holmoe, who wasn’t able to make it to media day, but instead sent in a prerecorded statement, had said the holdup in negotiations was due to BYU’s bowl situation. Because the Cougars are an independent college football team and not affiliated with a conference, which generally have their own bowl tie-ins, they depend on ESPN to help them get into postseason games.

This season, ESPN came down to Provo for the Idaho State game to present BYU with a personal invitation to the SoFi Hawaii Bowl, which the program accepted.

It is expected BYU will get a pay raise as part of the extension. The Cougars have plenty of Power Five games scheduled for home games over the next few years, which means ESPN will be able to get those games at a discounted rate compared to typical Power Five games.