BYUtv is available on Dish and DirecTV as well as 500 cable systems in 55 million homes across the country, Holmoe said. BYUtv has the capacity to broadcast games internationally "to millions and millions more."
Legendary former BYU coach LaVell Edwards, who attended the news conference, said the relationship with ESPN began three decades ago. "We had a lot of exciting games. We started throwing the football before anybody else did, and so that right away created a lot of excitement. ESPN was a new company and we were kind of the new kids on the block. We just kind of grew up together that way."
"We're anxious to rekindle that partnership and be able to come back to BYU with every game here over the next eight years," said ESPN's Brown. "That's something we're really looking forward to. We have had a great relationship with BYU over the years thanks in part to LaVell Edwards, who gave us so many signature games in the past that really put ESPN on the map in terms of being a college football destination network."
Brown noted that BYU's upset of Oklahoma last season was ESPN's ninth highest-rated game of the 2009 regular season.
Because ESPN broadcasts college football games on nearly every day of the week during the season, BYU can expect to play some non-Saturday contests, such as the Friday before LDS general conference and selected Thursday night games, Holmoe said.
Asked about BYU's situation in relation to the BCS, Holmoe said, "The BCS is not the reason for this move. I've spoken to (executive director) Bill Hancock of the BCS, and we know that we'll have the opportunity, if we're ranked 14 or higher, that we'll have the ability to be an at-large team."
Holmoe said the decision to go independent was years in the making. "We have studied this long and hard. We felt a responsibility to do the right thing."
He described the past two weeks in this process of going independent as everything from "terrible" to "exhilarating." Added Holmoe, "We knew we could not let this window of opportunity pass us by."
"We're convinced we're taking major positive steps forward," Samuelson said.
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