Longing for Longhorns
The email subject line says: “Don't Make Bevo Angry. Call Time-Warner Today.” The sender is sports network ESPN.
The launch of the Longhorn Network powered by ESPN is only a week away. Yet there is no deal and no announcement of where or whether you will be able to see the Longhorn Network right here in the middle of Texas, Longhorn Nation, the Capital City, Austin, Texas.
“Time Warner Cable continues to have ongoing discussions with ESPN about the Longhorn Network, [and] we are hopeful to have an agreement in the near future,” said Eddie Diroff a TW customer service representative when asked about the Longhorn Network during an online “chat” session.
The email mentioned above leads me to think that ESPN negotiations may not be going well with the largest cable company in town and the second largest in the nation. Time Warner has a long history of going down to the wire with local TV stations and networks while arguing over the costs and revenue.
Now, it appears that ESPN is attempting to put pressure on the cable company by emailing subscribers. “Let Time Warner Know You Want the Longhorn Network Added to Your Cable Line-Up,” the email says. The statement is actually a link to Time Warner’s Facebook page where you are expected to post a plea for the cable to carry the Longhorn Network.
It may be also an attempt to ascertain demand for the fledgling channel. Demand could help answer the question of how much the channel is worth and possibly how many people might be willing to pay for its programming, including the Rice vs. UT game, September 3rd, scheduled to be shown exclusively on the Longhorn Network.
Diroff expects his “chats” to increase.
“With the upcoming launch of ESPN’s Longhorn Network on August 26, 2011 we anticipate increased calls from customers about the status of carriage on Time Warner Cable as customers [who] have seen advertising from ESPN creating awareness of the channel,” Diroff says. “As of today, no video provider has announced a deal to carry the Longhorn Network.”
Well, we all know that the Longhorn Network will be available on Time Warner Cable and probably Grande. Throw in Dish and Direct too.
I’d be willing to bet the farm that it will be a premium pay-to-view channel on Time Warner. Certainly, it will be in the digital tier where TW wishes all channels lived, but you will be able to see all Longhorns all the time.
© Jim McNabb 2011