ESPN To Give University of Texas A TV Station, Still Leaving us 5 ESPNs Away From The Ocho

ESPN.com — 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, according to a news release. The deal is worth $300 million over 20 years. The network will launch in September.

Included in the coverage will be at least one exclusive football game, eight men’s basketball games, women’s basketball coverage of games not televised elsewhere, and Olympic sports coverage. There will also be pregame and postgame shows for football and basketball games, coaches’ shows for every sport Texas sponsors and other daily programming.

In addition, there will be university news, coverage of lectures and visiting speakers along with commencement ceremonies, and even high school coverage on an authenticated online/broadband site.

“This is an extremely exciting new venture for our university,” University of Texas president William Powers said in a statement. “With our partners, we are now able to increase the exposure of our outstanding athletics programs and our first-class academic and cultural communities. This agreement provides significant new resources to enhance faculty and academic support.”

“This network is a testament to the school’s remarkable, tradition-rich success and widespread, devoted fan base,” ESPN president George Bodenheimer said in a statement.

ESPN is getting $300 million dollars from the University of Texas to basically make ESPNLonghorns.  A lot of you might be saying “What the fuck Texas, why do you think you should have your own ESPN? This is dumb.”  Well, here is your answer:

Lots of people were snickering and saying similarly negative things when The Big Ten partnered with FOX back in August 2007 to make “The Big Ten Network.”  (Unless you are a shitty Big Ten fan and were saying “Great, now there’s a place I can watch Iowa college soccer on a consistent basis!”)  Either way, the only people laughing now are the Big Ten schools, which were paid $72 million by the network in 2008-2009.  A network that is estimated last year to have grown to 42 million subscribers, $230 million in revenue, and $76 million in cash flow.  If you already hated the Big Ten for avoiding a conference championship game like Justin Beiber avoids hitting puberty then I apologize for fueling the flame.

So while other CONFERENCES like the Big East and Pac 10 are looking into their own TV deals – which seem like no-brainers based on the Big Ten’s success – Texas went ahead and said we’ll go Yankees style and just get a TV station of our own.  ESPN heard about the offer and had it’s pants off before the two even hit the bedroom.  ESPN President George Bodenheimer’s quote in the story actually left off the ending.  It should read: “This network is a testament to the school’s remarkable, tradition-rich success and widespread, devoted fan base…and the absurd amount of money we are going to make off of it and all the other schools that will want their own network.”

As stupid as Texas having their own TV station sounds, and as much as I hate giving the Big Ten credit for anything, this will make sense and make lots of money for both sides of the deal.  And as Cam Newton’s dad taught us this year, money is really all that matters in college athletics.

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