Tag:Longhorn Network
Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:38 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 8:56 am
 

Big 12 hits pause on Longhorn Network's HS plans

Posted by Chip Patterson

As soon as the general public got wind of the Longhorn Network's plan to televise high school games, red flags went up across the nation. CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd mentioned that ESPN VP Dave Brown may have committed an NCAA violation by mentioning the names of two 2012 Texas commits in a June radio interview. The network has already asked the NCAA for guidelines on televising high school football games, but the weakened Big 12 conference wants to make sure the network has the league's best interests in mind as well.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe announced a temporary hold on the telecasts of high school football games on the Longhorn Network. Both the NCAA and Big 12 still need to make decisions on how the pending high school football media deal should be handled.

"It's not going to happen until and unless the conference can make it happen with benefit to all and detriment to none," Beebe told the Dallas Morning News. "It's fair to say what [ESPN VP Dave Brown] said publicly is why we're having conversations about this new world and what the parameters are."

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has stated that the university is ready to cooperate and wants to play by the rules in regards to the new network, and pledged his allegiance to the conference.

The recent developments with the network have re-started the rumors of Texas' rivals looking to leave the conference. Texas A&M's board of regents reportedly will hold a closed door meeting at the end of this week to discuss the new network, and wild (but concerning) rumors have swirled about Oklahoma considering a departure as well. The potential in-state recruiting advantage provided by airing high school football games on the network would be huge for the Longhorns, particularly if the game selection focused on the verbal commits and/or the highest profile recruits.

Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:18 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 9:21 am
 

OU, Texas A&M responding to the Longhorn Network

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.
Posted on: July 4, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 6:21 pm
 

Declaring some football independents on July 4

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Happy Independence Day everyone. It's been a remarkable 235 years but America is still going strong despite plenty of ups and downs. On the gridiron, it seems like Notre Dame, Navy and others have been independent of conference overlords for just as long. With BYU joining their ranks last week and in honor of the holiday, it's a perfect time to look at what programs could follow their lead and go out on their own.

While it's doubtful that any of these programs will actually pursue going independence in the near future, perhaps they could/would/should on second thought. Feel free to bring up some other programs that could go out on their own in the comments below.

Boise State

The Broncos have made quite the run the past few years, winning two BCS bowls and posting a remarkable three undefeated seasons. Boise State was originally a junior college who has, rather quickly, risen in the ranks from an independent in Division II to their current place in the Mountain West. Their wide-open style of play and ability to beat more talented teams has certainly earned them a national reputation and with that comes eyeballs. For example, last season's game against Virginia Tech earned a 6.8 overnight rating, making it the highest rated Labor Day night game since 1990.

From the Blue Turf to the trick plays, a lot of what has made Boise State football a national brand is due to the exposure they get on ESPN. For years they had several featured games on the network and, even if they were on late at night on the East Coast, people were at least able to see the games. Boise State is losing a lot of that exposure with the move to the Mountain West (with games on The Mtn. and Versus) in exchange for an increase in television revenue, which is expected to be around $800,000 a year based on the current conference agreements. If Boise State gets unhappy with the arrangement and decides to go independent, they could follow the lead of BYU. The Cougars recently signed a deal with ESPN to televise several football games with estimates putting the value of the deal at between $800,000 and $1.2 million per home game. As a program with a love-them-or-hate-them reputation that causes people to tune in, going independent might make sense down the road.

Florida State

If there's one team on this list that is actually familiar with football independence, it's Florida State. The Seminoles were conference-less from 1951-1991 prior to joining the ACC. In a curious twist of fate, the school was invited by the ACC to join their conference but were rejected by the SEC. Regardless, Florida State is aware of what it takes to be an independent and what challenges and benefits come with it. While most believe their relationship with the ACC is a good one, one never knows what will happen if another wave of conference realignment hits. The ACC is, mostly, a basketball-centric league and as winners of two somewhat recent national titles, Florida State is much more of a football school than the conference's other members.

Scheduling always gets tricky but Florida State has a long history of playing both Miami and Florida. Both games are usually big ratings winners so, like Boise State, the program would likely do well financially getting a majority of the television money versus splitting it with fellow conference members. Throw in nearby UCF and USF and the Seminoles could have nearly half a schedule from in-state programs alone. Add in a big name program, such as the one against Oklahoma this year, and Florida State could get back to being a much bigger draw nationally like they were in the 1990's. Of course, as with most Florida teams, they'd also have to win to stay relevant.

Oregon

The way things are going with the NCAA investigation into Oregon's football and basketball programs, it's likely more than a few Ducks fans have thought about leaving the NCAA altogether, much less the Pac-12. While the program itself hasn't seen much success on the gridiron outside of the past decade, there's one thing that lands Oregon on this list: Nike. The Beaverton, Ore., based company has already made the Ducks their featured program by ensuring they have the latest Nike gear and well over 160 uniform combinations (feel free to mix and match your own Duck uniform here).

The school already has an affiliate network of television and radio stations and it wouldn't be all that surprising if they teamed with Nike to get an actual cable channel going. Given what Nike has already done in the marketing sphere, the idea of "their" team crisscrossing the country might raise as many eyebrows in Indianapolis as it does in Eugene. At the same time, it's hard not to see the idea floated in Phil Knight's office at some point, is it?

Texas

Go ahead and insert your own Big 12-Texas joke here. If there was one lesson to be learned from last summer's realignment saga, it was that Texas is the major player in college athletics - and for good reason. The football program brought in the most revenue in the country last year with a staggering $94 million take and a nearly $69 million profit. If there's any program that could afford any initial financial hit from going independent, it's the Longhorns.

The program is also uniquely positioned (perhaps more so than anybody on this list) to head out on their own. The Longhorn Network will launch in late August and, with ESPN's backing, figures to expand the Texas brand into households across the country. Like BYU with BYUtv, having their own network already up and running would be a huge advantage over others that would be pondering a similar move. Schedule-wise, they would have no problem scheduling games based on the teams nearby and their draw nationally. Add in the fact that Texas is a large public school with plenty of alumni and fans across the country, and it's possible that football independence actually makes a lot of sense if administrators don't find the arrangement with the Big 12 to be working out.

USC

If you're making a list of things that a school should have if they're considering going independent, USC would have a lot of check marks next to their name. Lots of alumni all over the country? Check. Nationally recognized brand? Check. Traditional college football power? Check. Given the school's connections to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, it wouldn't be all that surprising if they were able to quickly move onto some unique and intriguing media options if they decided to pursue football independence.

The recent NCAA sanctions have certainly hurt the reputation of the school and the football program which might actually be one reason why the school decides to make the jump from the Pac-12 to join the ranks of rival Notre Dame as an independent. Plenty of alumni are not happy with the Pac-10's lack of support in their infractions case (unlike, say the Big Ten with Ohio State) and that cuts into some of the good will Larry Scott has brought with a new media rights package. The Trojans have plenty of history of going around the country and playing teams, why not a little more of that as an independent? The Pac-10 was known as USC and nine others during the run under Pete Carroll, so maybe the idea of separating from the bunch isn't too far-fetched.



Posted on: June 22, 2011 2:44 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 3:32 pm
 

Longhorns bar opens in Pakistan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Yes, you read that correctly. The country of Pakistan can now be known as not only the former home of Osama Bin Laden, but the new home of a Texas-themed sports bar.

I'm sure Texas fans will love seeing their school mentioned in the same sentence as Osama Bin Laden.

Seriously, 25-year-old Texas alum Shanil Ali opened up a sports bar in Karachi, Pakistan six months ago with a Longhorns theme.
Ali’s Longhorn Sportsbar is decked out completely in orange and white and features the longhorn logo prominently. The food also has a Texas connection: it combines Tex-Mex flavors with Pakistani dishes. Ali is a huge basketball fan, so many of his dishes feature the names his favorite players.

“I attended UT Austin and I became a fan of their basketball and American football team,” Ali explained to The Express Tribune. “After a while, I became a typical ‘longhorn’ and wanted to share their lifestyle and their love for sports.”

In addition to the offer of good food and a sporty atmosphere, the Longhorn Sportsbar also invites guests to play X-Box and Playstation games on two large, flat screen TVs. Play has thus far been free, but once the bar gets through its three-week soft opening stage, they will begin charging 100 rupees per hour, which is about $1.20, for use of the gaming equipment.

The article goes on to state that the menu ranges from buffalo burgers to a Pakistani yogurt drink called lassi. There is no word on whether the bar will carry the Longhorn Network. Either way, you have to think this is somewhat worrisome for coach Mack Brown.

Having Texas fans stateside who are upset with him is one thing, but what happens when Al-Qaeda is upset you didn't go for it on fourth down? 

Posted on: May 4, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 3:09 pm
 

Texas granted firing rights with Longhorn Network

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier this year, Texas and ESPN announced the formation of the Longhorn Network, a University of Texas-themed, third-tier sports channel designed to give viewers an all-inclusive Texas Longhorns experience. All-inclusive except for first- and second-tier games, which will still be covered by the Big XII's conference TV deals, of course, but other than that they're still good.

Being that this is a Texas-run channel for Texas fans, there's obviously going to be an expectation of some, shall we say, preferential editorial treatment by the on-air talent. Seems only fair. But even though this is ESPN's network, according to the Austin American-Statesman, it's going to be Texas who decides if the announcers are staying on the straight and narrow, and with massive consequences if they're not:

According to the contract, "in the event that UT reasonably determines that any on-air talent does not reflect the quality and reputation desired by UT for the Network based on inappropriate statements made or actions taken by such talent and so notifies ESPN, ESPN will cause such talent to be promptly replaced (and will in any event no longer allow them on air following such notice)."

On Tuesday, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz explained in an email, "This is not common in ESPN agreements because this UT network is so unique/new for us ...The provision does not allow for random replacement of commentators or reaction to critical comments... it's more about potential situations where a commentator makes completely inappropriate comments or gets involved in inappropriate actions."

In response, blogger Ben Maller wondered aloud if the provision meant that the announcers would have to wear Texas cheerleading outfits. He was clearly joking, and Krulewitz's statement should be enough to reassure viewers that the announcers still have some leeway as far as making critical statements.

And yet, there's still a problem here. Texas' top priority, one would hope, is Texas. The Longhorn Network's top priority, one would hope, is professionalism. So between those two entities, who should be in charge of determining the announcers' professionalism and deciding whether to take them off the air or not?

It remains to be seen, of course, whether and how often UT actually exercises these firing rights, and presumably, the school understands that even one such firing will be a PR nightmare, to say nothing of several (especially if they're indiscriminate or capricious). But what if Texas -- who, let's recall, has zero equity stake in the network -- doesn't have a problem with dropping the axe over one bad statement? What if ESPN grants this type of a deal to a different school with a pathologically vindictive athletic department? What sort of precedent is being set here?

Posted on: April 13, 2011 2:11 pm
 

FoxSports to pay $90M per year for Big 12 rights

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

You might think that with the Big 12 having lost a major media draw in Nebraska, lost its football championship game as part of its shrinkage to 10 teams, and possibly seeing some broadcasts of its biggest attraction siphoned off to Texas's (competitor-owned) Longhorn Network, now wouldn't be the time for the league to be striking it rich on the television contract front.

You would think wrong. Per the Sports Business Daily, the league is ready to announce an annual increase in its cable broadcast rights fees of approximately $70 million to $90 million, a 350 percent raise over the current $20 million. The new buyer? Same as the old buyer, Fox Sports.

But Fox is getting something for its money, at least:
The deal would have FSN double the number of football games it is allowed to carry, from 20 to more than 40. Fox also is keeping all digital and mobile rights to those games, and it would retain cable exclusivity for all Big 12 contests. That means that ESPN will be able to show Big 12 games only if it buys them in syndication from Fox. It also gives Fox flexibility to carry games on its other cable channels.
It doesn't appear that the league's occasional ABC appearances will be affected. But given ESPN's now closer ties to the SEC and other leagues, it's not out of the question for new college football outlet FX to air more Big 12 games than ESPN.

That might not do as much for the league's exposure, but that may not be nearly as much a concern considering what Fox's offer will do for the league's bottom line. (And, of course, it's only speculation and the furthest thing from a certainty; until the contract is made public and the details on its week-to-week logistics made plain, how the league will continue to work with ESPN will remain a mystery.)

Commissioner Dan Beebe was roundly criticized during last year's realignment for claiming he'd be able to net the wounded conference the kind of TV money that would keep the league's heavy hitters safely in the fold, and -- more to the point -- the league solvent. Thanks to Fox's ever-increasing desire to become a major player in the world of college football, though, it appears it's Beebe having the last laugh.
Posted on: April 6, 2011 11:43 am
 

Pac-12 Network "a done deal"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When last we heard from the San-Jose Mercury-News's Jon Wilner on the state of the Pac-12's new television agreements, a "Pac-12 Network" was something the newly-expanded league definitely wanted (for Olympic sports coverage as much as the heightened football profile) but hadn't fully committed to.

According to Wilner today, though, that status has changed:
I’ve also been told by a source familiar with the league’s business model that a Pac-12 Network is more than a negotiating ploy on Scott’s part (which is what some analysts and college sports officials believe).

The network is a done deal and will be launched in Aug. ‘12, in conjunction with the league’s broadcast partner.

The emphasis here is Wilner's; clearly, it's information he's willing to stand behind.

But as he points out, starting up such a network is one thing. Turning it into the money machine the Big Ten Network has become is another. A protracted subscriber-fee battle between the league and Time Warner Cable, the dominant cable provider in California, could become an even more bitter version of the infamous standoff between the Big Ten and Comcast in 2008.

If that's the biggest headline from Wilner's story, there's several more juicy details included, all of which are good news for Pac-12 fans and its member schools:
  • Thanks to the huge sums paid out to the Big 12 (by Fox Sports) and Texas (by ESPN for the forthcoming Longhorn Network), the estimates for the Pac-12's new deal have been ratcheted upwards. Commissioner Larry Scott will reportedly be asking for "a more lucrative contract than the $205 million annual deal the SEC signed with CBS and ESPN three years ago." A deal with dollar figures anywhere near that ballpark would increase each school's annual television cut by millions.
  • Though ESPN and Turner Broadcasting could bid for the league rights, the finalists are expected to be Fox Sports and Comcast. The league has allowed Fox's exclusive negotiating window to expire, presumably in order to see what Comcast (or a third party) would be willing to pony up. L.A.-based Fox may still the favorite, though, with their recent loss of Laker rights to Time Warner fueling the need to provide USC and UCLA games to the Los Angeles market.
  • Once the national broadcast "platform" is in place, the league is expected to schedule weekly Thursday or Friday night football games.
Though little of this is set in stone, one thing is clear: the days of Pac-12 football (and basketball) being the hardest power-conference action to find on the dial will be over soon.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), Feb. 25

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.


FOUR LINKS ...

1. Future scheduling is very much in the news today, with discussions about moving the new Big 12's biggest in-state rivalry games to Dec. 3 and the Big East finally releasing its 2011 slate. But maybe nowhere is it more in the news than at Nevada, which is desperately trying to work its way out of a brutal road stretch (at Oregon, at Texas Tech, at Boise State, all back-to-back-to-back) ... but still found the time to tentatively schedule a home-and-home series with Oregon State for 2017 and 2018. (Is there a way to schedule them for that far ahead that wouldn't be tentative?)

2. Yes, Virginia, when you would have already been the clearcut No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, you need some kind of insurance policy when you decide to go back to school. Andrew Luck's is worth $5 million already and could wind up being worth even more , depending on the new NFL collective bargaining agreement.

3. Your weekly Friday Four Links position coaching update: former Minnesota assistant John Butler is South Carolina's new special teams coordinator ; Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt will not be accepting Auburn's offer of the same position following Tracy Rocker's departure; which means former Butler colleague with the Gophers Tim Cross is, by process of elimination , the likely front-runner on the Plains; and well-traveled assistant Danny Barrett is the new running backs coach at UCF.

4. Despite saying the scandal that erupted around Cam Newton "kind of stained almost everybody" involved with it -- including himself, we presume -- Dan Mullen also said he had "no regrets" about his Mississippi State program's recruitment of Newton or its handling of the situation. No regrets aside from the part where Newton chose Auburn and went on to win the Heisman and a national championship, it's safe to assume.

AND A CLOUD ...

Tennessee junior cornerback Art Evans spoke publicly for the first time since being reinstated following a three-month suspension; Evans missed the last six games of 2010 after falling behind on his car payments ... In addition to his infamous call to the Paul Finebaum radio show, accused Toomer's Corner oak poisoner Harvey Updyke may have also bragged about committing the crime on an Alabama fan site ... More buzz is buzzing about Oklahoma countering Texas's "Longhorn Network" with one of their own ... Remember former Florida and Ole Miss defensive back Jamar Hornsby? If you do, it won't surpise you to learn he's currently in jail ... Without Nebraska, does the Big 12 have enough quality games for its television obligations?

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com