Posted by Chip Patterson
College football has become a big money business, and most of that money is coming from lucrative media contracts. As we prepare for the 2011 football season, we are on the verge of a historic college sports media venture with the premiere of the Longhorn Network. The network will present an all-access focus on Texas athletics unlike any major media venture before. In the soon-to-be 10-team Big 12 conference, the competitors have taken notice.
The College Station Bureau reported Monday night that Texas A&M has added a closed-door session to their regularly scheduled regents meeting this week regarding Texas' multi-million dollar network. The sources cited in the report said the session would be "informational only" and the Aggie decision makers will simply be given the latest from lawyers on the network.
The topic has come up for Red River rival Oklahoma as well. Athletic director Joe Castiglione told local media on Monday that progress is being made for a Longhorn-style network for the Sooners.
"We have had a great amount of interest in the prospects of a network here," Castiglione said. We are interacting with a variety of different media companies and we know that we will have potentially a different model than the one that people keep hearing about in regards to the one at the University of Texas."
Castiglione went on to turn the focus on the "digital revolution," reminding the Sooner faithful of the "frontier spirit" in Oklahoma. Oklahoma already boasts a powerful broadband and mobile network, and plans to stream 30 to 50 live events in the coming year.
While the comments seemed a little defensive on the first read, I think that Castiglione has the right idea with making progress towards the full multimedia experience rather than make a hasty push towards the television network. Sure, the power of the Longhorn Network and its ability to reach a mass audience greatly overpowers Oklahoma's current broadband setup, but as mobile video becomes more and more popular it will become a necessary piece of sports media providers.