Friday, Feb. 22, 2008 | 5:24 p.m.
Better late than never, I guess.
The Mountain West Conference announced on Friday that The Mtn. -- its regional TV network that was launched more than two years ago -- finally will be available to satellite television subscribers via DIRECTV no later than Sept. 1.
The Mtn. has been available to Cox Cable digital TV subscribers since December 2006. Basic cable subscribers still do not get it.
The same could be said for the MWC and its presidents for agreeing to this deal in the first place.
Leaving juggernaut ESPN for obscure College Sports TV resulted in a $120 million cash grab for MWC members, spread out over 10 years. But when CSTV was sold to CBS it resulted in the creation of The Mtn., which is basically around-the-clock sports programming's answer to the Food Network.
If you are one of the lucky ones who get The Mtn., you've been enjoying more Mountain West football and basketball games than ever before -- at least when nothing else is on.
But if you don't get it, I hope you've been enjoying the WAC and the West Coast Conference on ESPN.
Without satellite TV and a cable package that extends beyond its geographic boundaries, Mountain West teams have been operating in an exposure vacuum since bolting ESPN. At least that will get better starting in September. It should be noted, however, that ESPN already is available on satellite, and it remains to be seen how many of those viewers are going to switch away to watch Wyoming and Colorado State.
UNLV officials, of course, don't see it that way. They reacted to the impending satellite deal as if it were the greatest thing since sliced bread.
They might want to ask basic cable subscribers who'll be buttering their TV muffin when the Rebels visit Wyoming on Saturday.
For details about the DIRECTV deal, visit www.themtn.tv.