The Longhorn television network, coming soon to a cable or satellite provider near you.
University of Texas regents on Wednesday gave their blessing to the school’s pursuit of a so-called Longhorn network of cable TV sports programming.
Regents met behind closed doors with school President William Powers Jr. to discuss the plan. The regents’ academic affairs committee then publicly voted to allow Powers to pursue and sign a contract.
ESPN has confirmed it is in talks with Texas to distribute the proposed network. ESPN and school officials have declined to discuss how much it would be worth or other details. Fox Sports, reportedly interested in developing the network, declined comment Wednesday.
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said the school is “working on a deal but (we) do not have it yet.”
Texas is expected to model its network after the Big Ten Network, a 3-year-old venture that is reportedly delivering about $70 million a year to the conference. A Longhorn Network would be Texas-specific programing, although Texas football and basketball rights are now part of deals the Big 12 conference has with ESPN/ABC and Fox.
I guess I’m not really clear on what this means. I’m also not really clear on just how much content one school could provide.
Because most of UT’s marquee games will be carried by its Big 12 partners, the so-called “Longhorn Network” will likely broadcast only one live football game and a few men’s basketball games per season. Dodds and women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky have said the rest of the schedule will include coverage of lower-profile sports and non-athletic programming such as concerts and campus events.
Doesn’t exactly sound like Must See TV to me. At least with the Big Ten network, you’ve got a lot of contributors to the total amount of programming, and by that I mostly mean live sporting events. But the UT folks seem to think this is a potentially lucrative revenue source, so who am I to argue with them.