ESPN wasn’t buying into the creation of a Pac-12 TV network — Fox outbid the World Wide Leader on that one — but when it comes to joining the University of Texas for a members-only BBQ, there’s smoke and fire in the air.
The Sports Business Daily reports today that Texas will announce a 20-year, $300 milion deal with ESPN for the creation of the Longhorn Network, for both sports and non-sports programming. It’ll launch this fall and be owned by ESPN, which will pay the school rights fees that average $15 million a year.
ESPN has issued a press release saying the channel has yet to be named, and will debut in September. The network also said it would have an “on-line broadband companion” to “offer extensive content, particularly events not featured on the linear TV network due to simultaneous events or other overlapping programming.” ESPN also says it will “create and operate a new, authenticated online/broadband site that will aspire to broadly aggregate content from around the state. It will provide fans, students and parents with access to extensive Texas high school sports, including football, basketball and more, through this centralized home.”
The deal was sublicensed from IMG College, the Longhorns’ multimedia rights holder.
The Sports Business Journal also points out that the Longhorns’ budget for the ’10-11 fiscal year, already the nation’s richest, is $137 million.
This will be high-level, entertaining cultural, music, scientific, Discovery Channel, History Channel kind of stuff. And we have a team put together working on it, and that will be done in collaboration with ESPN,” Texas president William Powers told the Austin Statesman.