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Dick Harmon: BYUtv breaking new ground on sports coverage

Published: Saturday, May 21 2011 10:56 p.m. MDT

BYU Broadcasting has also secured national carriage for BYU Radio on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. It will be on channel 143 and will launch nationwide to SiriusXM over 20 million subscribers on July 1st.

"We anticipate that most, if not all, of the live sporting events (the 140+) that air on BYUtv will also be carried nationwide on BYU Radio," he said. It is also anticipated that BYU Radio, through our partnership with KSL, will be carrying Greg Wrubell's KSL Radio play-by-play broadcasts for BYU football and basketball.

BYU Broadcasting is soon to launch both iPhone and iPad apps and prior to football season and will also be launching an entirely new website dedicated to BYUtv Sports.

"It will be highly interactive and will include hundreds of hours of video on demand (VOD) content not available anywhere else: live streaming, rebroadcast/VOD of ESPN games, including classic ESPN produced BYU games from the past (just one of the ways the BYU/ESPN partnership is going to benefit fans) and much more that will be announced in the very near future," he said.

I asked the director to expound on BYU's broadcast partner ESPN as an independent, an arrangement many BCS schools are studying carefully.

"The partnership between BYU, and specifically BYU Broadcasting and ESPN, has been strong from the very beginning when ESPN produced its first-ever regular season college football game, the matchup between Pittsburgh and BYU on Sept. 1, 1984," said Marquis.

"ESPN has always been generous in allowing BYU Broadcasting to rebroadcast its games on the university channel(s), including during the time that BYU was under the MWC," he said. "For example, ESPN was there for us when we asked for rights to rebroadcast BYU's 2009 win over the University of Oklahoma from Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

"We couldn't be happier to be back now in a formal partnership with ESPN and are looking forward to many great years ahead. It is truly remarkable to think that for the first time in BYU's history, every home football and men's basketball game will be televised live, nationwide, on either ESPN or BYUtv. (The year) 2011 will truly be an historic year for the Cougars and for Cougar fans regardless of where they live."

One thing 2011 will give BYU is exposure, a priority for BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson when original organizers of what came to be the MWC broadcast partners promised him BYU could rebroadcast games. That group, and those that followed through buyouts and acquisitions, reneged on those promises.

That issue ignited a lot of angst at BYU.

When Utah accepted a bid to go to the expanded Pac-12 last summer, it opened the door for BYU to advance its own remedy to gain greater exposure.

It remains to be seen how BYU can monetize sports on BYUtv and how many viewers will actually tune in. But if you don't build a bridge, you can't expect traffic, and this is all about traffic and eyeballs, not money, we are told.

That Marquis and company have expanded the broadcast footprint this fast, in less than a year, is astounding if not phenomenal.

Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at dharmon@desnews.com

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