MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia University's calculated plan to commercialize signage at its athletic venues will indeed change the view for spectators beginning this fall.
Yet what spectators will be able to view could be ready to change, too.
The university revealed a revised Request For Proposals Tuesday afternoon as it again tries to outsource the athletic department's multimedia rights. One of the more informative parts of the 92-page, 34,000-plus word solicitation explains how WVU plans to make greater use of television than before.
WVU had scaled back in some television ventures in recent years and contracted West Virginia Media Holdings' West Virginia Illustrated to produce coaches' shows for men's basketball and football. The university now seeks to keep those two programs in place, possibly reintroduce some programming and debut a list of other ideas.
Among new programming ideas for television are signing day specials, preseason and postseason specials and awards banquets for unspecified sports. WVU produced a football signing day special on its athletic department website in February.
Beginning in the 2014-15 year of the multimedia rights contract a "University Gala Fundraising Event" will also be televised.
Football receives special treatment with a bowl special, but also the continuation of a regular pre-game show on game days, "Mountaineer GameTime," that's been running for the past two seasons. Additionally, a section of the RFP that details advertising, promotional and/or sponsorship components reserved for Coca-Cola, United National Bank, Nike and WVU Health Care mentions "Mountaineers 360," a magazine program that was dropped after the 2010, and football game replays that haven't been produced in many years.
However, neither is specifically required, like the gala and the pre-game show. WVU said in its announcement Tuesday that it will not comment on the new RFP.
The same section also references the weekly football press conference, one live football game and men's and women's basketball games. Those will be staples of the television part of the contract.
The contractor, which WVU hopes to select by Aug. 5 and notify by Aug. 23, can't touch men's basketball's conference games that remain property of the Big 12 or the non-conference games scheduled for or picked up by national networks. Anything else is available in the so-called Tier 3 rights and the RFP requires the contractor to televise at least six men's basketball games a season.
In the 2012-13 season, eight non-conference games were nationally televised, leaving WVU only five games that would have been eligible for a Tier 3 schedule. Given the challenging type of non-conference schedule Coach Bob Huggins prefers and the RFP's requirement, it's possible the Tier 3 schedule will include a quality matchup - not Gonzaga or Missouri, but not necessarily lower-tier non-conference opponents of which fans are not familiar.
Women's basketball's Big 12 games don't belong to the conference, unless one or more are selected for national television. The multimedia rights contract could create television slots for its games, as well as games and matches in the remaining sports that aren't scooped up by a national broadcast, which has happened to men's and women's soccer in the past.