The E.W. Scripps Company and the Big Sky Conference have entered into a three-year agreement to broadcast Big Sky Conference games on local TV stations. Beginning in the 2022-2023 season, Scripps stations in markets with Big Sky schools will broadcast football games, as well as men's and women's basketball games.
The Montana Television Network, which is owned by Scripps, will have the rights to broadcast up to 14 conference football games involving Montana and Montana State. The annual Brawl of the Wild between the Griz and Bobcats will be available statewide for free over the air on MTN's CBS stations (KTVQ, KPAX, KBZK, KRTV, KXLF, KXLH and KAJ).
“Getting it over the air to all reaches of Montana is important," UM athletic director Kent Haslam said about the Brawl of the Wild. "And so it’s a big deal. I’ve heard from our fans in the past that they want access to that game. I appreciate the partnership and it's a big deal to have that game. It stops everything in the state of Montana. Everyone has an opinion about it. So we’re excited to have that over the air on linear TV and reach a really large audience."
UM and MSU each will have one home and one away conference football game that will air in prime time. The Big Sky Conference will schedule the rest of the UM and MSU football games to air in the afternoon. They can be found on MTN's CBS stations, NBC and CW TV stations.
“This partnership with Scripps allows Big Sky fans to watch games throughout our entire footprint,” Big Sky Conference commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “One of the primary objectives with our conference’s media rights is to maximize the number of people who can watch our teams compete, and this deal complements our ESPN relationship by providing extensive television coverage with a renowned media company that has existing relationships across the Big Sky.”
Scripps will have the first right to broadcast as many as eight women’s or men’s basketball games involving Montana or Montana State. Additional conference football and men’s and women’s basketball games may be added by mutual agreement between the Big Sky Conference and Scripps.
“We want to deliver content that is of high interest to our audiences, and we know viewers in this part of the country are passionate about their Big Sky sports,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media for The E.W. Scripps Company. “When it’s important to the community, it’s important to us.”
In addition, Scripps will be on-site annually to produce content at the Big Sky’s Football Kickoff, Hall of Fame Ceremony and Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships.
Under the agreement, Big Sky Conference games will no longer air on Root Sports. The conference will retain rights to digitally distribute and stream programming via the ESPN+ app both within and outside the league’s footprint, and these broadcasts on Scripps stations will not be subject to any blackout restrictions.