(bumped. OnlyOneOU is on fire this week!)
The University of Oklahoma plans to have its own TV Channel up and running sometime in 2011 according to senior associate athletic director Kenny Mossman. Questions began to pop up on the topic that dominated much of the conversation during the summer's conference realignment talks soon after the UT-ESPN deal. When asked about the launch date Mossman had this to say:
"I wish I could tell you exactly when, but we’ve worked on it long enough and have enough of an idea of what our model will resemble that we feel confident we’ll be launching something in the not-too-distant future." - TulsaWorld
Mossman also said he did not think OU's network would be similar to UT's independent network that provided all content but didn't think it was an inconceivable idea for OU. As it stands right now Oklahoma's multimedia rights holder is Learfield Sports (began a 10 year $75 million extension in 2007) who has entered talks with FOX Sports Network, Cox Cable, and ESPN about a partnership deal with FSN and Cox as the front-runners of the deal with FSN providing the content and Cox handling the distribution factor.
Two years ago OU spent approximately $2.5 million on a high-def control room, cameras, and upgrades to the current studio at Owen Field mainly to run the new video boards installed at Lloyd Noble as well as at Memorial Stadium. If the deal were to go through, OU would need to do even more upgrades but would have a good base and starting point to build upon. But it would seem that OU would not need a current network deal to start its own tv channel.
Over the past few years, Mossman said, OU has positioned itself "to do this at least somewhat independently if we have to. If we don’t, then we’ll align with an organization or network that would allow us to go about it a different way." - TulsaWorld
It is speculated the launch date will be sometime in the fall of 2011 but nothing is set in stone as of yet, these are all still just hopes and dreams. And Joe Castiglione commented that they were making good progress but being diligent in order to
"develop a product that can be sustained for the long-term." Mossman went on to add: "We don’t want to announce something and have a big splash and then two years later it’s not there any more. We want to make sure we’ve done our due diligence for something that can stand the test of time." - TulsaWorld
The OU Channel would show some of the historic games in OU history as well as some of the interviews with current and former coaches. It will also include coverage of the Olympics old and new as well as some future basketball and football games. All this depends on the current Big XII tv contracts (the league’s deal with Fox expires after 2011 and ABC ESPN expires after 2015).
In no way do I think this is OU trying to compete with what UT is doing and taking a stab at one-upping a rival although it may come off like that to many fans of both teams. Oklahoma has had this in the works for at least 6 months at the minimum but details were limited as well as an idea of what was actually capable of being pulled off by the University if it went solo and what it would be capable of if it entered a partnership. The idea that OU will have its own channel is exciting for many Sooner fans but I would also be excited to see a Big XII network channel instead so we are not constantly having to watch programming that we don't want to or care to see much like UT will be forced into doing.