DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) - The Texas Longhorns were reportedly on their way to the Pac-10 as part of college football's great conference realignment boom last summer, however, at the eleventh hour the Longhorn did an about-face and decided to stick with the Big-12....and now we know why! The Horns were seeking a move to the Pac-10 to increase television ratings but stayed in the Big-12 for more money and now a television network of its own. The Longhorns are double dipping in a big way!
The University of Texas and ESPN announced a new $300 million deal that would create a 24-hour Texas Longhorn sports network that will start this fall. This isn't the Big Ten Network or the SEC Network; the Longhorns get this network all to itself.
ESPN has guaranteed 82.5 percent of the contract or 247.5 million for the university.
While the deal appears overwhelmingly positive for the Longhorns, it does have some drawbacks.
The positives. The University of Texas gets a lot of revenue, quick. The secondary and Olympic sports at UT get much-needed exposure and funding and the Texas brand is front and center with the self-proclaimed "world-wide leader," that can't hurt.
But there are some obvious drawbacks. Who's going to watch it? The Longhorn football rights are already tied up with Fox Sports and ESPN. They are likely to only show one game a year on the new Longhorn Sports Network against a patsy that would normally be shown on pay-per-view. Really, who is going to watch second tier sports and Olympic sports competition or "other university programming?" Over the long haul the stand alone network would face the challenge of attracting eyes and advertisers with regular season basketball, baseball and Olympic sports choices. That is a tall order even for the Texas Longhorn brand!
There is also this small technicality of ESPN's journalistic integrity.Look, ESPN isn't fooling anybody when it comes to journalism, but are they really expected to tell the truth when they have a story that could adversely effect one of the Longhorn money-makers like football or basketball? This cozy relationship could turn bad quickly is ESPN doesn't tow the line when reporting sensative Longhorn news!
"We'll have to work to have an even playing field on the news side, and will," university President William Powers Jr. told the American-Statesman. Great, in theory, but wait until the first sensitive story to see if it's true.
The new single university network will be facinating to watch, who's next?
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