The WCC's TV deal, aka Gonzaga's TV deal gets them in more homes on average than the Mountain West's TV deal. They're on both ESPN and CBS Sports. Not to mention the money they probably get for being in marquee non-conference games (how that works, I don't know, but those events are largely set up by parties either broadcasters or event management groups that fork over the money, especially neutral-site games)You would think Gonzaga would be on the phone with someone but they don't appear to be, which surprises me as well.
WCC has 17 regular season ESPN broadcasts, plus 9 on CBS yearly per the deal they signed in 2019: West Coast Conference Announces Landmark Media Rights Agreements
Just looking at Gonzaga's 2019-20 schedule, they had 6 non-conference games on ESPN networks (1 on U, 2 on main, 3 on ESPN2). 6 ESPN2 conference games, 2 ESPN main, and 2 CBSSN. Then the entire league has its conference tournament from the semis and finals on ESPN main. in 20-21 non-conference games were 2 on Fox main, 3 on CBS main, 1 on ESPN main. For conference play 7 on ESPN main, 3 on ESPN 2. And that's not even mentioning that any game they don't have on these networks is picked up by a local TV network/regionally broadcast on ROOT Sports in the Northwest plus I believe ESPN+.
Compare that to San Diego State in 19-20: 2 games on FS1, 3 on Fox Sports San Diego (I think it's called Bally Sports Now) and on on Pac 12 Network for non-con. 10 games on CBSSN in conference play, 3 on ESPN2. Conference tourney on CBSSN, and final on CBS. 20-21 3 on CBSSN, 1 on FS1 for non-conf...10 on CBSSN, 6 on FS1, 2 on CBS main, plus tourney which they won.
CBSSN in in 61 million homes, ESPN networks in 86 million homes. So to me, if the Mountain West wants to start any conversation about joining up, they need to assure me that their deals with CBS and Fox, which run to 2026 and totaled $270 million is going to go up and that the Zags will get more than what they currently get, AND I'd be asking to make sure there were more games on the main networks throughout the season. That, or the league has to also secure some kind of ESPN deal by then.
ESPN has been a very powerful ally in Gonzaga's rise to prominence. College Gameday talks them up, they get highlight play on SportsCenter, etc etc. Mountain West schools? Not so much. Now if the Big 12 were interested in adding non-football members (which I 100% doubt), that's a totally different story. For basketball, they're on ESPN quite a bit, and that would stand to increase especially if ESPN could ditch the WCC/Gonzaga special 10-11pm tip times for a Big 12 matchup in that same time slot.