Calling All Aggies :: TV 101

Written By: Steve Macy, NM State Associate Athletic Director

For the past five years, NM State fans have been enjoying the fruits of AggieVision, which produces 40 live athletic events a year and is distributed to over 8.8 million homes. Recently, there has been some confusion about the game on Saturday against in-state rival UNM.

In order to understand whether a game is going to be produced by AggieVision, you first must understand how TV works in college athletics. Each conference has some level of national television deal that it has sold to rights holders (ex. ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS, etc). In addition, some conferences have second tier rights that have been sold to regional, over-the-air or other national rights holders. In the WAC, there is only the national TV rights deal. Once ESPN selects its games, all other games are available to the home institution to barter, sell or produce for television.

On June 4 of this year, we received an email from the WAC stating that the UNM home football game had been selected by ESPN for exclusive broadcast. The contract with ESPN treats all games produced by ESPN entities the same: they are exclusive to ESPN, including games produced for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN3. However, as part of the WAC agreement, ESPN may also distribute games that AggieVision produces and typically those games are available on ESPN3 and GamePlan (football) and FullCourt (men’s basketball). Because this particular game was selected as an ESPN3 exclusive, that means that no other television entity can produce or distribute this game, including AggieVision.

Taking this to the next step, what AggieVision does produce are those games not selected by ESPN that also match up with distribution partner availability and fan interest. Those are the games that are made available to Comcast in New Mexico, FS-Arizona, Altitude and KVIA. We are also close to announcing an additional distribution partner starting in October which should significantly expand the reach and scope of AggieVision.

That brings us to the game on Saturday against rival UNM. Apparently, there has been a lot of hand wringing by Lobo fans and ABQ media over the fact that this game is available on ESPN3 only. I have been taking media calls questioning how we could allow this to happen. Over the past five years, NM State has produced, at its cost, a plethora of games involving the Lobos and made them available to our distribution partners, including in Albuquerque. Games in football, men’s basketball, volleyball, women’s basketball, baseball and softball have all been delivered to ABQ free of charge. This game has been selected by the WAC’s television rights holder and is not available to AggieVision.

I guess it just goes to show that we must be doing something right when not only do Aggie fans love AggieVision, but our in-state rivals do as well.