Happy Independence Day!


As far back as I can remember, I watched BYU football games on Saturday afternoons in the fall. In my very early years, it was with my Dad or my Grandpa, but even in my too-cool-for-family teen years, I used to walk, bike or drive to church houses in the neighborhood where I could catch the games over satellite broadcast. I would hang out with lots of grumpy old guys and a few young dads with small children running around screaming, but it was a small price to pay to see my Cougars in action.  Then there were the wonderful "Blue and White Sports Network" years when the games were all on network tv, saving me from those uncomfortable church house afternoons.

We had our good times and our bad times as fans of BYU athletics.  I was 10 years old when we won the national championship and a little older during the fun Sean Bradley basketball days (I'm a bit too young to remember the Danny Ainge days), but anybody who knows me well will attest to the fact that I was no fair-weather fan.  I was true-blue and, even though my plans of attending BYU changed after high school, my love for "The Y" never faded.  There is/was nothing better than spending a cool Saturday afternoon in Autumn watching a BYU football game and my Saturday schedule has often been centered around those games. And then in 1999 a bunch of suits got together and decided to ruin it for me and many others like me.

I find it fascinating to watch the way businesses operate, particularly how they interact with their customers, and to predict how those businesses will fare in the long run.  I actually have a pretty good track record of predicting products/businesses that will thrive and those that will fail.  I've been watching and waiting for the Mountain West Conference (MWC) to fail for 12 years.  The MWC was formed to be a "better" Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and, as far as I can tell, the plan was to take a product that many people were passionate about (BYU sports) and make it difficult, expensive and sometimes just plain impossible for those loyal customers to enjoy. I've resorted, these past many years, to listening to games on the radio.  On the radio! Like it's 1978 or something.  It doesn't take a genius to see that this might not be a sustainable business model, but the very well paid executives running the MWC decided to try it anyway and to ride that pony as long as it would stay standing.  Well, needless to say, 12 years of frustrated, angry, desperate fans has resulted in a pony that is laying on the ground in a pile of its own feces, swarming with flies. Now that BYU, Utah and TCU have bailed on the conference and its ridiculous TV situation, poor BSU and the Bronco Nation are left to suffer the aftermath in what is now the "lesser" WAC.

But enough with the negative. My real reason for actually sitting down and writing this post is that today dawns a new era in BYU athletics.  As of today, July 1, 2011, BYU is free of the MWC and has finally regained control over the rights to view their own athletic events.  Not only that, but they've built up an incredible HD broadcasting station unparalleled in the collegiate world.  BYUtv can be found on almost every major cable network and satellite tv provider in the USA, as well a decent online streaming capability that means access to over 140 BYU athletic events in the next year, available for free to all...many live and some delayed until after they are shown live on ESPN.  And for those of you with a Roku box, there is a new BYUtv channel for Roku that allows you to stream any of this stuff live for FREE!  (For those of you without a Roku...you should get a Roku!)

So all of this to say that this is an exciting day in BYU sports history and should be celebrated by Cougar fans worldwide.  If you're die-hard enough, you can even start on July 12th by watching the BYU Football Media Day in all it's glory, for the first time ever outside of the Wasatch Front area.  I'm not sure I'll end up watching much of that, but I COULD!!

There...now I feel much better.  I've been wanting to write this post for quite some time, but before now, it was always just going to be a whiny rant.  At least now it can be something positive (unless you're a BSU fan).  I can't wait to see how this new experiment goes for the BYU athletic department and most of all, I CAN'T WAIT FOR FOOTBALL SEASON!!  Woohoo!! Go Cougars!

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