The streaming shift from BYUtv to ESPN
May 25, 2023, 11:00 AM
PROVO, Utah — If you like Brigham Young University (BYU) sports that don’t usually get network attention, your sports fix is going behind an ESPN paywall.
Why the shift?
BYU is moving to the Big 12 Conference this year, bringing a new partnership between ESPN and BYUtv.
The Big 12 conference entered a six-year, $2.28 billion media rights deal with ESPN, giving them streaming rights to the majority of Big 12 games.
According to that deal, ESPN will now stream BYU sports games on its family of networks including ESPN, ESPN-U, ESPN-2, and ESPN+. Some games will also be streamed on the Fox network as part of the agreement.
However, BYU football and basketball will still be free on KSL NewsRadio, the home of the BYU Cougars.
How live games will work
All of BYU’s live sports will be broadcast on ESPN networks, except for men’s volleyball. This is because the Big 12 Conference doesn’t include men’s volleyball teams, leaving BYUtv streaming rights.
“BYUtv will only have rights to broadcast men’s volleyball, but all the other sports will be broadcast on ESPN+,” said Dave Phillips Jr., head of BYUtv sports broadcasting.
Sports on ESPN+ include BYU women’s basketball, women’s soccer, gymnastics, softball, and baseball. Many of these games will be wholly produced and directed by BYUtv students and staff, then streamed on ESPN+.
Cougar football and men’s basketball games will be available on main ESPN channels, with some exceptions for other streaming networks.
Staff and student employees
Student employees and other staff will still be heavily included in the sports production process.
“Sometimes ESPN will bring in their talent and a producer and director, but the rest of the positions will all be provided by BYU. So that means BYUtv will staff and have a partnership with ESPN,” said Phillips.
University students make up the bulk of BYUtv staff, learning to produce and direct live sports and studio shows and build social media platforms.
Jocelyn Moody, a student producer at BYUtv said she can’t wait for the connections she will build by working side-by-side with ESPN staff.
“I’m really blessed for this opportunity to work for a place that gives aid to students and helps them with their future career.”
Phillips said one of the most exciting things about this partnership is the chance for students to gain more experience and get a jump-start on their careers.
“This is a great opportunity for students to interact with people from ESPN, to network, and to help everyone to get jobs as they graduate.”
Phillips said BYUtv would not lay off any employees as a result of this partnership according to Phillips.
BYUtv without the games
Even without the games, BYUtv will continue to host and stream its popular studio shows such as BYU Sports Nation, BYUSN Gameday, BYU Football with Kalani Sitake and After Further Review.
“A lot of that [time] will be filled with BYUtv’s other programming. Original shows that we have, movies we’ve acquired… So we’ll continue to provide family-friendly stuff,” says Phillips.
Overall, Moody says student employees and staff are excited about the partnership.
“BYU in the Big 12 is a good thing and it’s a good thing in all aspects; Production-wise, sports-wise, fan-wise.”
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