Thursday, July 7, 2011


One Question Unanswered About the Longhorn Network

The Longhorn Network powered by ESPN will launch August 26, 2011, but where will you see it?

UT announced Thursday, July 07, 2011 that the Longhorn Network’s studios will be in the University Park development, 3300 N. I-35. The network disclosed some 50 employees are hired to run the 24/7 network, but how can you see it in Austin?

Three “nationally known” personalities will be the faces of the Longhorn Network, Lowell Galindo now of ESPNU, Westlake High graduate Kevin Dunn of ESPN Radio, and Samantha Steele of Fox Sports, but where can you find them on the dial, assuming your TV still has a dial, which it probably doesn’t.

Announced yesterday, the UT vs. Rice and one Big 12 game will be telecast exclusively on the Longhorn Network, but what will it take to watch them.

Will they be on a tier with Fox Southwest or will they be pay-per-view? Pay-per-view would be wrong in this writer’s opinion.

The big question goes unanswered. Will you find the Longhorn Network on Time Warner Cable, Grande, or AT&T U-verse or where? What about Dish or Direct TV. Silence.

Posed the above question, “Negotiations are ongoing,” said Kari Potts of ESPN. “Active discussions are ongoing,” said Nick Voinis, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Communications at The University of Texas.

Asked whether there is a timetable for an announcement, ESPN’s Potts was silent. She again referred me to her earlier statement using the word “ongoing”, but promised to add me to the media list, as did Melanie Sorola, Time Warner Cable Texas Region Communications Director.

Sorola’s full statement was a little more enlightening, if one reads between the lines: “Time Warner Cable continues to have ongoing discussions with ESPN about the Longhorn Network. We have been and remain proud of our long term relationship with the University of Texas,” Sorola said. The second sentence could be seen as one expressing assurance that viewers will be satisfied.

“It’s too early [to announce any agreement for telecasting],” Voinis said.

It appears that all concerned made a pact to say the word “ongoing” when referring to negotiations and nothing more.

So, for now, viewers must go to where it tells you to “Request the Longhorn Network today.”

I would expect that Austin, the center of the Longhorn nation, will be able to see the Longhorn Network. I fear that it will be found where viewers will have to pay more for the privilege. Everyone concerned in these “ongoing negotiations” is interested in making more money.

© Jim McNabb, 2011

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