Hey, remember when Notre Dame's exclusive deal with NBC was seen as an earth-shaking development in the world of college football? Those days seem so carefree and innocent now, what with the Sports Business Daily reporting that Texas will officially unveil the new "Longhorn Network" today , a partnership with ESPN that will create the first 24-hour channel devoted exclusively to a single university's athletics.
Per the SBD, the network will be ...
the first-of-its-kind channel to broadcast live UT athletic events, shoulder programming and non-sports university content. The Longhorn Network will launch in the fall and will be owned by ESPN, which will pay the school a rights fee that averages $15M a year, sources said. In addition, ESPN has committed close to $400M in production value to the channel over the 20-year term.Total amount of money flowing directly into Texas's coffers over the next 20 years? $300 million.
But even that's chump change compared to the prestige and influence the 'Horns promise to wield with their own network to flout. There's still plenty of questions to be asked and answered of the new enterprise -- How many homes can the WWL force the channel into? Will it actually broadcast any live football games? Can it turn a profit? How many people will tune in for "Mack Brown Live, And We Mean Live Right Now: 30 Minutes of Mack Brown Doing His Taxes"? -- but it's hard to see how it isn't a major, major feather in the Longhorns' media cap.
The story might be most substantial, though, as a simple milestone. Analysts have long predicted that in the distant future, we'd be capable of watching only our favorite teams all the time. So 20 years from now, when you're checking out "Cardinalvision: Your 24/7 Television Home for Ball State Athletics," remember that it all got started today.