Each football season fans in Montana look forward to one game in particular: Montana State vs. University of Montana. Since 2012, fans from around the state and around the country have had to watch the game on Root Sports. A regional sports network operated by DIRECTV Sports Network, LLC., Root Sports covers thousands of sporting events each year within the Northwest, Pittsburgh, Rocky Mountain and Southwest regions. With continual coverage of the Colorado Rockies, Utah Jazz and the Western Hockey League they have experience broadcasting sports at the highest level. They reach nearly 3.4 million households across five states, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. In 2015, Root Sports even won four heartland regional Emmys. On Nov. 21, Root Sports will be televising the biggest sporting event in Montana all year when the Bobcats take on Grizzlies.
Upon releasing the schedule for this season, Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton remarked in a press release, “Root Sports does first-class production every week of its Big Sky Football Games, as evidence by the Emmy Award the network won. We’re excited for you to see our games showcased once again in the fall of 2015.”
Root Sports has a contract that allows for them to televise up to 18 football games and up to 12 men’s basketball games. After Root Sports picks their initial sum of games they would like to televise it goes to a bidding process amongst local stations. While local stations pick all of the Bobcat and Grizzly games up, other schools don’t always have a local station to do the same. For these games the Big Sky Conference has a broadcast partnership with eversport.tv, where one can find the games streamed online live, for free. The partnership with the Big Sky Conference and eversport.tv started this year and looks to improve upon the service.
Root Sports will finish up their coverage of the Big Sky Conference with the highly anticipated “Brawl of the Wild” as the Treasure State rivals face off for the 115th time. This will be the last game Root Sports is guaranteed for this season, as ESPN owns the rights to all of the Division I Football Championship playoff game coverage. Root Sports doesn’t limit the ability of the Big Sky Conference to provide free over the air coverage.