The big Sky’s new television contract with Root Sports promises greater exposure for PSU football and basketball
On Jan. 17, the Big Sky Conference announced they would be signing a deal with sports network Root Sports to produce and broadcast football and basketball games.
The five-year contract was announced via a media telecast Jan. 17. Starting in the fall of this year, Root Sports will broadcast up to 18 Big Sky football games and up to 12 basketball games a season.
“That’s awesome,” said women’s basketball head coach Sherri Murrell. “That’s going to help us recruiting-wise. It’s going to be big for us.”
Root Sports, a brand of DirecTV, says it will be able to distribute the games to a potential audience of 8.7 million viewers in the northwest and rocky mountain regions of its’ networks. The network will choose the games it wants to cover, but Director of Athletics Torre Christholm said he isn’t worried about Portland State getting ignored.
“Because of our location in Portland,” Christholm said, “and also because with football we have a stadium that’s already pre-wired for Root’s broadcasts, we’re optimistic that they’ll look at us as a favorable partner and be anxious to pick up as many of our games as they can justify.”
Root Sports will select its football schedule in the spring, and its basketball picks later in the year. Games that aren’t chosen will still have a chance to be televised by local networks. The games Root Sports chooses to produce will be broadcast in high-definition and given full graphics work-ups. They’re also planning to make pre- and post-game shows to accompany the broadcasts.
“For the games that they broadcast, they want to make the full experience,” Christholm said. “So, you know, the on-site pre-game show, post-game show, do a lot of promotional build-up and lead-in to those games. So those will be the pieces I know we’ll see.”
Women’s basketball senior forward Shauneice Samms said she hoped the deal would build up support among fans and give players more exposure.
“I think it’ll pump everybody up,” Samms said. “They’ll be nervous at first, the first few games, but it will help everyone in the long run.”
In a statement, Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton said the deal would increase the conference’s exposure regionally and nationally. In addition to the regular season games it picks, Root Sports has first choice to produce the men’s basketball quarterfinal and semifinal tournaments.
“We have outstanding athletes here and in our conference,” Christholm said. “So they deserve for the greater community to be able to watch their events, see them perform.”
The conference benefits financially from the deal, but the details weren’t disclosed.
It’s been in discussion for a little while,” Christholm said. “Like everyone, we get one vote, and we voted in favor. We thought it would be beneficial not just for Portland State but for the whole conference.”
You can see what providers carry Root Sports on their channel listings at tinyurl.com/7twoqak.