As with just about everything in life, how we look at television deals is all about perspective. And our perspective changes depending on where we live.
For example, I've been severely criticized in some quarters every time I've pointed out that there are indeed advantages to the Mountain West Conference's television deal with The mtn., Versus and CBS C.
Almost a year ago, after it was announced that DirecTV would add The mtn. to its lineup, I praised it as a boon for a lot of Cougar and Ute fans:
If I was a Utah or BYU fan and I moved back to my childhood home in upstate New York, I'd be doing the happy prospector dance over The mtn.'s deal with DirecTV. I'd (relatively) happily pay whatever it cost to subscribe to the satellite system because I'd be able to see more of my team than ever before. Certainly more than I'd ever seen while living 2,000 miles from Utah.
This is a fantastic thing for out-of-state Cougar and Ute fans.
Not surprisingly, I heard from a number of fans who didn't want to see the word "fantastic" used to describe anything about the MWC's TV deal. But the fact is that there are a lot of fans out there who are better off.
Like this one who e-mailed me a few days ago:
"I can't tell you how often I hear from BYU fans, 'I wish we were still with ESPN.' What a joke.
"I just don't understand why so many BYU fans go to church one day a week but worship ESPN six days a week. That ESPN deal was terrible."
(Before you start posting comments, this is not a BYU-vs.-Utah thing. Our friend in Dallas is a Cougar fan.)
"I live in Dallas, and most of the people I know are fans of Big 12 teams. Every single one of them — no matter what team they cheer for — is jealous of the deal the MWC has.
"If I want to see BYU play, I just go home and turn on the TV. If they want to see their team play, they have to drive three or four hours to see the game in person, because only a few Big 12 teams are on TV every week. And most of the time, their team isn't on TV anywhere."
There are still some huge drawbacks to the MWC TV package — not the least of which is the lack of national exposure that accompanies being on channels few people have. Or, as is the case with Versus, few people seem to realize they have even if they do.
But the fact is that, no matter where you live, if you're a fan of a Mountain West Conference school and you can hook up a satellite dish, you can see just about all your team's football games and a lot of its basketball games. And that's something a lot of fans of a lot of higher-profile teams in higher-profile leagues can't say.
We (and I include myself) were spoiled by the easy access we used to have when BYU was on KSL and Utah was on KJZZ. But we still have it better than most fans across the country.
No matter what your perspective.