Blue White Roundtable: Alabama Week Edition
September 7, 2011 – | No Comment

Once again, it’s Adam Collyer over at BlackShoeDiaries providing the questions, and we, your humble bloggers, providing the answers. Mine are below, and you can venture off to the remote areas of the blogosphere that …

Read the full story »

Longhorn Network to test Big 12 fans’ patience

Submitted by on July 7, 20116 Comments

Boy was that a quick honeymoon.

But what can you really expect when an entire conference rides on the coattails of an individual program.

Photo Credit: Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN
ESPN announced Tuesday that it’s new network, the Longhorn Network will actually air 2 Texas football games this Fall. With the Texas-Rice game on September 3rd already scheduled for the Longhorn Network, a second Big 12 game will now be selected to be broadcast on ESPN’s shiny new Texas-centric network.

Now it gets better.

FOX also granted ESPN a limited waiver to shift a game from ABC to the Longhorn Network. Typically the games slated for broadcast on ABC are the most intriguing of the season’s lineup; you can definitely count on ESPN to pick a primetime marquee matchup that would otherwise be slotted for an ABC national broadcast for it’s new $300 million investment.

It’s hard to blame ESPN for wanting to promote its brand new network, but there is just one major problem. It’s tough enough to imagine the popularity of a network built entirely around an individual sports program outside of the Lone Star state, but the esoteric Longhorn Network is also brand spanking new, set to kick off it’s inaugural season this year. It took a full year before the Big Ten Network was able to reach an agreement with cable provider, Comcast to deliver programming to fans in the Big Ten footprint, Time Warner finally jumped on board a few months after that. You can almost be assured that the World Wide Leader’s new pet project will not be readily available to cable consumers outside of Texas this Fall. Now that’s a big problem for fans of teams outside of Texas that might be selected by the Longhorn Network for it’s second broadcast.

Now here’s the kicker.

According to the Big 12′s agreement with ESPN, the network has to make a “best effort” to get the Longhorn Network game broadcast in the other team’s area.

So while ESPN will try it’s hardest to get the game televised near the campus of the visiting team, there is by no means a guarantee that will happen as most Big Ten fans learned during the initial years of the Big Ten Network.

So when ESPN decides to use it’s limited waiver to shift a possible marquee game against Oklahoma State, Kansas, Missouri, or Baylor from ABC to its limited Longhorn Network, most fans outside of Texas could very possibly find themselves blacked out. For fans outside the immediate footprint of the new network, the only true guarantee would be to subscribe to the Longhorn Network, a network that most non-Texas fans will only care about 1 Saturday each Fall.


Now Big Ten fans are all too aware of the growing pains of a brand new network and having games blacked out due to initial posturing in contract negotiations, but at the very least the Big Ten Network is built around an entire conference and promotes programming that is relevant to all 12 members of the league. Fans in Wisconsin have the same interest in BTN programming as fans in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota. It’s hard to see fans in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma or Iowa begging for the Longhorn Network when not faced with the threat of a possible television blackout of their own teams.

But this is what happens when you salvage a conference from the brink of annihilation by appeasing the greediest and wealthiest member of the group. Texas will be reaping in approximately $10 million for the first year of its LHN contract. When combined with the renegotiated Big 12 TV contracts, they will be rolling around in $30 million in TV revenue alone. All the while Missouri struggles to watch it’s outdoor tennis courts bleed water due to a faulty underground drainage system.

Three cheers for conference stability! But I wouldn’t delete Mike Slive’s number if I were Texas A&M just yet.

top related stories
you may also like

  • Formerlyanonymous

    “possible marquee game against Oklahoma State, Kansas, Missouri, or
    Baylor from ABC to its limited Longhorn Network, most fans outside of
    Texas could very possibly find themselves blacked out.”

    Wait, marquee games against Baylor? Or that it was phrased like Baylor is a team not from Texas? Or that Baylor has fans?

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist, and I shall now return to my regularly scheduled love of this site.

  • Charlie

    Hahaha, touche. Though I still think it could be a marquee game, Baylor won in Austin last year, Robert Griffin returns to QB the Bears and the game is already slotted for ABC. Now how many fans in Waco will actually care enough to demand the Longhorn Network be available to catch the game is questionable. Seeing as they are only 105 miles away from Austin, you would think Waco would be considered a lock to be part of the immediate Longhorn Network footprint.

  • smitty


  • Charlie

    Gah! thanks

  • S Pierce

    You’re assuming that it will even be carried in Austin.  I’m personally hoping that Time Warner (main cable company here in Austin) will block carriage.

  • Kelly Hall

    What’s the use of being an 800-pound gorilla if there’s no jungle to rule? If TAMU bolts, then perhaps OU will follow suit, and what will be left for the big behemoth to claim?