College Independents: BYU Is Not Notre Dame

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst ISeptember 2, 2010

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 4:  Todd Watkins #1 of BYU hauls in a 37-yard pass over Quentin Burrell #8 and Dwight Ellick #24 of Notre Dame to give BYU a first down and allow them to run out the clock and secure a 20-17 victory September 4, 2004 at Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.  (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images

BYU is not trying to become the Notre Dame of the West.

Its vision is much larger than that.

Getting out from underneath the television contract of the Mountain West Conference and gaining control over the distribution of all its sporting events, allows BYU to now deliver its games to a worldwide audience.

As has been mentioned in the national media, all BYU athletic teams will now be able to utilize the reach of BYUtv which is available in 55 million homes in the United States.

However, the opportunity to deliver games throughout the world via BYUtv International may represents an even greater opportunity.

BYUtv International is currently available in over 150 countries in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

In several countries it is available much as it is the U.S., airing on both cable systems and direct broadcast satellite. In most parts of the world it is also available to “back yard” dish owners, which is not an insignificant number, and online television viewers through Move Networks.

Imagine the opportunity for BYU to eventually carry its brand to a worldwide audience. Many of the Olympic sports that BYU participates in are more popular in other parts of the world than they are here at home. The Cougars can also take advantage of the growing interest in American football in many areas around the globe.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s BYU football and basketball games were often carried on the LDS Church satellite system. Some of those games were picked up and aired in South America. BYU basketball in particular was well received and the Cougar program became instrumental in the popularity of basketball there.

Its not hard to fathom BYU eventually being recognized around the world as the “American brand” when it comes to college athletics. Think about the impact that could have on both recruiting and marketing.

This new arrangement may also create a greater opportunity for BYU athletic teams to serve as emissaries of the school’s sponsoring institution, the Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to millions of people throughout the world, much as BYU’s performing arts and dance companies have made BYU a near-household name in countries such as China. Sometimes sports teams can get in doors that missionaries can’t.

Wednesday’s events were bigger than most media members or even BYU fans realize.