Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ESPN partners with UT to create network

AUSTIN, Texas -- ESPN and the University of Texas will combine on a 24-hour television network showing Longhorns sports as well as original series, studio shows, historical programming and other academic and cultural events.

There also will be an online component to the network offering content not featured on the linear TV feed.

ESPN will help develop, launch and operate the network. It will also handle distribution of the network, which is unnamed as of now. The deal is worth $300 million over 20 years. The network will launch in September.

With the University of Texas the first such school to get a network deal how many other schools will follow suit? Using a network like this Texas seeks to draw in more student athletes via more media exposure as well as to promote their schools sports to a new level of revenue grabbing. With colleges making millions of dollars off of tv deals with major television networks for bowl games alone will we see a new bevy of associated sports networks dedicated to selling us on a particular college? With college sports creating more and more revenue for huge schools like Texas, I think we will see a trend for colleges who want to produce more programming of their sports to more fans over a longer time. With a 20 year deal it looks like we wont see the end of UT's sports for a long time, will networks like these dominate our televisions for years to come?


kern said...

I agree that the fact that all Longhorn sports will be on TV will help most sports. However, will football and basketball have to give up being on the networks or ESPN? If so would that hurt those sports?

The additional revenue will definitely help the school continue to improve their facilities and support of athletics. As a UT grad I'm for whatever will help the school and am looking forward to being able to watch more of the lesser seen sports.

Elizabeth said...

With this channel, I imagine the relationship with sponsors will be heavily solidified. A sponsor may buy ads on the channel and as the channel is connected to the University, the sponsor's product may be seen more and more around the campus. For example, if Coke was sponsor the channel, the number of Coke machines around campus may begin to greatly outnumber other drink companies that are uninvolved in the channel.
I also believe the channel is a great idea because as Kern says above, the channel already has a defined audience. Current and past students of UT will likely tune in to at least see what the channel is doing. So the channel may have viewers that normally would not be interested in sport related coverage but simply want to support their school.

Alissa said...

Very well thought out comment Elizabeth. I feel as though this network will cause many other big universities to try and do the same thing. With the sponsors also getting some major revenue from this network also, they will possibly get more sponsors. The amount of viewers will definitely be a high number as there are many longhorn fans everywhere, not just on the campus, which will also benefit the network economically.

Ethan said...

As a 24 hour network for a college I find it hard to believe that they will have enough programs to fill the time. This makes me wonder if a great portion of the network will be either re-runs or paid programming, because there really is a limit to how much you can talk about a game. If they do choose to go the paid programming route it would greatly help to pay for the channel, but might make the students and fans angry. If they choose to play re-runs of earlier shows during dead time it could make some shows more available to people who work or attend school during the day, but would cost more to UT because they wouldn't have the funding from the paid programming. Do you think UT will choose to go totally one way, or the other, or will they show a little of both?

Zach said...

Will this network be dominated by mens sports such as football, basketball, and baseball or do you think it will be evenly divided among the genders? Do you think that when Longhorn Sports suffer like the football team did this season, falling out of the top 25 for the first time in years, the network will suffer?