Blog Entry

Oklahoma to start its own sports network?

Posted on: January 21, 2011 6:30 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 8:27 pm

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the wake of the Texas announcement that it had cut a deal with ESPN to start a UT sports channel, it would be natural to wonder what this means for the future of the Big 12. Sure, Texas reiterated its commitment to the Big 12 when it announced its deal, but it's one thing to commit to a conference and quite another to do so while setting up an annual $15 million deal for lower-level television rights.

This, in effect, forces the other nine conference members to re-assess their situation with television revenue. In response, Oklahoma officials quickly set forth to announce preliminary plans for OU's own sports channel, and while it's not even close to a done deal, it's clearly something they've been working on for a while already:

“That’s our goal,” OU senior associate athletic director Kenny Mossman said.

“I wish I could tell you exactly when,” Mossman said. “But we’ve worked on it long enough and have enough of an idea of what our model will resemble that we feel confident we’ll be launching something in the not-too-distant future.”

Mossman said he didn’t think OU’s model would be the same as Texas’ — one independent network providing all the content — but said, “that’s not inconceivable.”

Oklahoma's plan would likely involve Fox Sports or ESPN for content and Cox Cable for distribution, according to the article.

The problem the channel faces is that distribution, however. In terms of population, Oklahoma isn't exactly Wyoming, but it isn't exactly Texas either; it has about 3.7 million residents, which makes it basically the median of Mississippi and Alabama (two states that also feature two main college sports teams). And while Oklahoma most certainly "moves the needle" as far as television ratings go, getting an Oklahoma-centric channel with third-tier rights (like those given by Texas in its deal) picked up by any cable carrier outside the state lines is going to be more of a challenge than it's worth. The Oklahoma-Texas rivalry is heated enough to begin with. When Oklahoma comes to the cable companies looking for carriage fees (which, in turn, will affect Texas residents' cable bills), the rivalry becomes financial, and whenever pocketbooks come into play, politics aren't far behind.

Still, by the sound of it, Oklahoma isn't going to monopolize nationally relevant sporting events, so this shouldn't affect the conference's upcoming television deals in any material fashion. That's key for the health of the Big 12; if Oklahoma or Texas started looking for second-tier rights and undermining larger agreements, there's a problem, but we're not at that point.



Since: Aug 18, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2011 6:18 pm

Oklahoma to start its own sports network?

A lot of OU fans in the Dallas market.  They may be able to sell this channel there, and potentially in some other bordering states.  OU will never get close to the money Texas is commanding, but as long as its a positive income stream, this will be nothing but good for the Sooners.

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2011 5:01 pm

Oklahoma to start its own sports network?

Hum, more can't watch tv.  It is kind of interesting to see that schools are looking for extra revenue.  Texas or ESPN, whatever, anyway, Texas was smart to do this.  ESPN, well, I hate the 4 letter network and for them, it makes no sense.  Some colleges will not like that deal since ESPN will probably go out of its way to put Texas on and that means we will not be seeing others on TV. 

Since: Mar 7, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2011 12:09 pm

Oklahoma to start its own sports network?

This is old news.  OU has had a HD studio on campus for over a year and have been planning their network longer than Texas had.  The OU network agreement was probably delayed by the Longhorn/ESPN deal. After the OU network deal is announced, the Big 12 Network will probably be next on the block.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2011 10:46 am

Oklahoma to start its own sports network?

Metro Area Populations in the top 100 rankings

Dallas-Fort Worth (6,447,615) ranked #4, growth rate 24%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown (5,867,489) ranked #5, growth rate 24.43%
San Antonio (2,072,128) ranked #28, growth rate 21.06%
Austin-San Marcos (1,705,075) ranked #35, growth rate 36.43%
El Paso, TX (751,296) ranked #68, growth rate 10.55%
McAllen-Edinburgh-Mission, TX (741,152) ranked #70, growth rate 30.15%

Oklahoma City (1,227,278) ranked #44, growth rate 12.04%
Tulsa (929,015) ranked #53, growth rate 8.08%

Texas has another 10 metro areas in the 100-250 rankings as well.  Oklahoma has none.

I just don't see how Oklahoma feels than can create a similar network.

TV Stations see lots of eyeballs and stunning growth rates as well.

Since: Oct 29, 2006
Posted on: January 22, 2011 2:32 am

Oklahoma to start its own sports network?

You are right, Oklahoma does not have near the population of Texas.  

But if and when the Sooners do work out a tv network of their own, I believe you will be surprised at how much of the television viewers of Texas, (and many in Kansas, and New Mexico, and more than a few in Arkansas),   will be interested in carrying the Oklahoma football games.    I won't say there will be as many Texans, wanting to watch OU football as follow the Longhorns or the Aggies,  and I expect the number wouldn't be a big percetage of the total population, but I do believe there are probably as many Sooner fans in the northern and the western parts of Texas as there is in the state of Oklahoma, which would double your figure of 3.7 million, (and at least half that number more in other neighboring states).    
I'm well aware that the Sooners don't have the nationwide following of say, Notre Dame, but still, you, and everybody else,  should know that basing the number of possible Sooner fans solely on the population of the state of Oklahoma would be just like saying that the only possible Nebraska Cornhusker fans are among the less than 2 million residents of the state of Nebraska..... (or like saying all the possible Boise State fans reside in the city of Boise, Idaho).    

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