LARAMIE — In a move Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson recently mentioned as a cost-cutting possibility for the league, MW Football Media Days are going virtual this year.
The league has officially announced the change in format amid the coronavirus outbreak that’s having as much of a financial impact as it is an effect on people’s health nationwide. Media days, which have previously been held over a two-day period in Las Vegas each summer, were scheduled for July 16-17 in Los Angeles, but dates for this year’s virtual event have yet to be determined.
In a statement released Wednesday, the MW said it made the decision after consulting with media members, television partners, L.A.’s SoFi Stadium and its member institutions, which include Wyoming.
“The new innovative format will provide the opportunity for the promotion of a broader range of student-athletes while also allowing media to participate who otherwise would not have been able to attend the event in-person,” the league’s statement read. “The later virtual program date will also permit maximum flexibility for MW football programs this summer.”
The move comes less than two weeks after Thompson said during an in-house interview with the league that the MW is looking at a cut to its operating budget this year of anywhere from 15 to 20 percent. Thompson mentioned holding the league’s football and men’s basketball media days virtually instead of in person as one of the budget cuts the league might need to make in order to mitigate the loss in revenue.
“Is that something we look at and go to virtually?” Thompson said then. “No. 1, we don’t know the schedule. We don’t know when football will resume. So to schedule a media day in person sometime in July where it has historically been, is it better to push that back and have a flexibility?”
This year’s in-person media days were to be held at SoFi Stadium, where the Mountain West’s new postseason game, the L.A. Bowl, is scheduled to be played for the first time in December. The game, which will pit the league’s champion against a Pac-12 team, is replacing the Las Vegas Bowl in the conference’s new bowl lineup.
Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter.
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