Big 12 commissioner: League to move away from Longhorn Network model

Thursday October 30th, 2014

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby discussed the Longhorn Network's role in the league's long-term plans at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday, according to Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman.

The Longhorn Network was launched in late 2011, and is a partnership among the school, ESPN, and others dedicated to broadcasting Texas sports programming.

Bowlsby was asked how the network was faring, and how it fit into the league's future plans for television.

"The Longhorn Network is a boulder in the road. It really is," Bowlsby said. "They did something that almost no other institution in the country could do because of the population in the state, and we're looking at some way to try and morph that around a little bit."

"If technology changes in the next five years as much as it's changed in the last five years, we're not going to be getting our sports by cable TV. I don't know what it'll be," he continued. "But increasingly, we're using mobile devices...Google Network and Apple TV and things like that are coming into play...I'm not sure the world needs another exclusive college cable network."

"Rather than trying to do what everybody else has done, I would much rather try to figure out what tomorrow’s technology is and get on the front side of that and be a part of what happens going forward and monetize that."

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The University of Texas, according to Brian Davis at the Austin American-Statesman, receives $15 million a year to air Texas athletics-related content 24 hours a day.

While the network has been added by Dish Network, it has yet to be picked up by DirecTV.

Longhorn officials have tried in the past to draw bigger audiences by showing football games on the network, but according to Davis, the Big 12 is unlikely to allow the network to show marquee games on the team's exclusive channel.

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Texas is currently seventh in the Big 12, with a 2-3 in-conference record and 3-5 overall. It closes out this season with road games against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, and home match-ups with West Virginia and TCU.

- Christopher Woody


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