Saturday, September 10, 2011

Still Hacked Off

Texas Exes
Hammer LHN
in Social Media

The Longhorn Network (LHN) is not a worry now. Football games have gone to “normal” channels, but the Longhorn nation is still fuming. Viewers can’t see the custom pregame shows offered by LHN.

A Texas Exes discussion group on LinkedIn continues to distill the discontent fomenting among the Longhorn faithful not just in Austin, but across the state.

“I can't believe UT kicked of the new network without getting carriers lined up. This is a joke,” writes one alumnus. “I have DirecTV. I've written and called. When calling no one even knows anything about the Longhorn Network.” According to published reports, Direct TV is not negotiating with the LHN until next year when their contract is up.”

“I am extremely disappointed with ESPN/LHN over the whole thing! I live in the Houston market and, due to a complete failure by ESPN/LHN to obtain distribution with Comcast, DirecTV and Dish Network, virtually all of Houston was "blacked out" for the UT/Rice game,” reads another post.

Other Houstonians agreed. “I think that ESPN and/or UT should have at a minimum made sure that they had the Texas market locked in at the time of launch. I am, I think understandably, shocked that Houston, the fourth largest city in the US and chock full of Texas Exes, was not "locked in" when LHN launched.”

The story is the same in North Texas. “We live in an area of Garland where you can only get Time Warner or AT&T Uverse. I've called AT&T (my provider) to ask and signed the online petition for Longhorn Network. It shocked and saddened me that the network wasn't secured ahead of time,” she writes. “It was very frustrating. I hope it’s resolved soon. I will happily change providers because the hassle will be worth it.”

And finally, from the Texas Exes: “It is very disappointing to see the university associated with something so poorly executed as the Longhorn Network. With all the hype leading up to it, and all the negative feelings it has caused with the other schools, there is no excuse for such a poor launch.”

It should be noted that several Texas Exes did have access to LHN through Verizon Fios or Grande Communications, and they love it. Further, those who don’t have it, want it.

Potential viewers who don’t have LHN were not impressed that the network this week announced nearly a score of nonconference basketball games beginning in November. Or maybe they didn’t know. The announcement was not featured by most media. (Details of the games are on the Longhorn Network’s web site,

In all fairness, the Rice vs. UT game might not have been televised at all. Given Texas record and Rice’s stature, networks might have put their resources elsewhere. There was, however, the promise of seeing the opening game of the season, and that’s what has Texas Exes ticked.

Once again, the blame should not fall to the providers. ESPN and LHN want too much money and assurances that the LHN will be placed on a standard tier.

Moreover, the bigger issue is whether the creation of the Longhorn Network will indeed break up the Big 12.

© Jim McNabb, 2011

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