BYU Fans, Get Ready To Pay Up For Cougars Game Against Toledo
PROVO, Utah – BYU football’s game this week against the Toledo Rockets is going to air on a network that will require you to pay some money if you wish to watch.
ESPN+ is the network that will air the Cougars first trip to a MAC venue since 1970 against the Rockets of Toledo.
BYU is very familiar with being on ESPN’s variety of channels on cable and satellite packages ranging from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, and ESPNU. But this is the first time the Cougars have ever had a game on ESPN+.
First off, what is ESPN+?
What is ESPN+?
John Lasker, ESPN’s vice president of digital media programming is responsible for leading efforts to maximize ESPN’s rights, audience reach and revenue opportunities on existing digital content offerings and platforms including ESPN+ joined me on KSL’s Cougar Tracks to discuss the streaming service and why BYU fans should sign up.
“ESPN+ is ESPN’s premium direct-to-consumer service that launched about 18 months ago back in April of 2018. The design around ESPN+ was to give ESPN an opportunity beyond premier television networks to distribute more sports content and serve sports fans better,” said Lasker. “We’ve seen sports consumption via ESPN’s channels continue to rise. The service has about 14,000 live events on a per year basis, including this weekend’s BYU-Toledo game. We also have about 1,500 original programs that are produced and distributed by our ESPN Films friends, but also news and information content.”
Now you’re probably wondering, is ESPN+ bundled with your ESPN3 or WatchESPN services? The simple answer is no. Lasker went on to explain in greater detail.
“The best way to describe it is if you can access the ESPN app through your favorite device -iPhone, Android phone device, Roku box, an Apple TV, PlayStation 4, or an Xbox, name your device- ESPN is on that device and so will ESPN+,” Lasker said. “So consider ESPN+ an incremental offering beyond our linear television services. It’s not content from ESPN or ESPN2. It’s anything you wouldn’t otherwise see on ESPN or ESPN2.”
When Lasker mentions incremental offering, there is a cost to ESPN+. It’s $4.99 per month with no contract and you can cancel at any time.
So if you want to see BYU take on the Rockets, you’ll need to pay that fee to watch the game.
How did BYU vs. Toledo end up on ESPN+?
With this Saturday’s game being played at Toledo, the MAC owns the rights to the game. ESPN and the MAC currently have a contract in place that runs through the 2026-2027 academic year. Each year, six MAC games air on ESPN or ESPN2 in the regular season. Those games have already been scheduled, and most of them are the classic “MACtion” nights in November on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Five MAC games end up on ESPNU and those have been scheduled already as well. Every other game from a MAC venue ends up on ESPN+.
“Things that go into making those decisions vary,” said Lasker. “Based off of schedule availability, different conference relationships that we have, different obligations that we’ve made, and what we believe would be most appropriate for the audience that is available to us.”
On-demand viewing of BYU football games has always been a big thing for Cougar fans over the years. Just look at the BYUtv Sports library of archived games. Cougar fans love diving into the past or watching a replay of the most recent game. According to Lasker, BYU and Toledo will be available for replay, on-demand viewing for the next 30 days after the game has ended.
“Every game that is streamed via ESPN+ will be available immediately after the game is over on ESPN+ for the following 30 days,” said Lasker.
Along with ESPN+ broadcasts, on-demand viewing is also available for any BYU road game that ends up on an ESPN network will be available for replay viewing for 30 days after completion.
To sign up for ESPN+ go to ESPNplus.com.
So Cougar fans, are you planning to sign up for ESPN+ to watch BYU football take on Toledo in the Glass Bowl? Vote in the Twitter poll below.
Each week KSL Sports provides a list of all the ways to catch local college teams whether its on TV, in person or on the radio. Find the list here.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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