Eastern Washington’s football team will appear twice in Big Sky Conference games to be televised this fall by DirecTV’s regional sports network, the company announced Tuesday.
The Eagles will be seen on the network’s Root Sports network on Sept. 29 against Montana, and again on Oct. 13 at Montana State.
The 12-game Root schedule includes seven appearances by Montana and Montana State; apart from EWU, no other school appears more than once.
Every televised game includes one of the Montana schools.
“I really didn’t know what to expect, and it’s obviously a Montana-centric schedule,” EWU Athletic Director Bill Chaves said Tuesday afternoon.
“We knew that Root was interested in those two institutions in making the deal with the Big Sky, but you’ve got to look at the longer arc of things and hope that things will even out over time.”
Chaves added that he hopes that “as we go forward (with Root) they will see that there is quality football at all the schools.”
The Big Sky Conference has no input in the selection of Root-televised games, reiterated Jon Kasper, the conference’s assistant commissioner in charge of media relations.
“We made the decision to give this contract to Root Sports and give them control,” Kasper said. “They are paying us a good sum of money, so they get to pick what they want.”
Kasper added that while the Montana schools dominate the schedule, games will be televised from nine venues, “so it’s not like they (Root) are parking their trucks and leaving them in Missoula and Bozeman.”
Big Sky Commissioner Doug Fullerton was unavailable for comment.
Now that the DirecTV schedule is set, the conference will negotiate with local media, including those in Spokane, for broadcast rights for the remaining games.
The conference has already sent bid requests for remaining games.
In the case of EWU, Kasper said, “SWX has done a great job, and fans can expect that the majority of the home games this fall can end up on SWX as well.”