Conversation Continues On Sooner Network

Texas has set the standard in regards to money making in the Big XII and the remaining 9 schools are almost forced to compete in order to keep their heads above water. Texas has pulled in the most revenue for years now and took one more step to ensure it continues to be that way. However, another Big XII school has been talking about starting up a TV network despite all the Longhorn Network criticism. This school is the University of Oklahoma, which broke news of a possible network soon after the Longhorn Network was set to air. Oklahoma and Joe Castiglione continue to talk about the possibility of a network while being very cautious in the matter saying:

"We've had a great amount of interest for the prospects of an offer here. We are interacting with a variety of different media companies."

The problem becomes that UT signed on with ESPN to a $300 million over 20 years deal, a partnership that no other school is likely to find creating something the constituents won't except unless it is on par with the aforementioned numbers.

Apparently Oklahoma has been in the talks not only this year but for several years on developing something of this caliber. Yes, I stated that UT set the standard but it is not one that OU and Castiglione want to follow necessarily.

"We know that we'll have potentially a different model than the one that people keep hearing about in regards to the University of Texas," Castiglione acknowledged. "We have to build one that's sustainable for the University of Oklahoma. This isn't like you can go out and just buy a network. This is a commodity. This is a very big undertaking ...

"And so we understand what we are trying to develop here. We've been looking at this for several years."

While I still hold that none of this will affect recruiting (UT did decided to air HS games of prospects which was quickly flagged by the NCAA and conversation has begun to establish the motives of this), it does in turn provide a safety net for any school able to find a partnership on almost any level. Fact is that if no one watches the network, there is still a contract that provides guaranteed money.

Progress is continuously being made on the launch of a Sooner Network even though no official date has been set outside of "we'd like to have it up and running by __________" kind of dates.

When OU negotiates with potential TV partners, expenditures are at issue more than potential ratings.

"I'm really encouraged about the progress. I like the interaction we've had with various media companies, as we try to find something truly sustainable for us," Castiglione said. " 'Sustainable' is the key word. If we're going to launch something, we want it to be around for a while. That's why we're being very diligent."

Now that news of multiple networks in a single conference has broken out coupled with last years realignment, the stress of a repeat performance has been raised, just ask any aTm person who will consistently deny that the talk of them jumping to the SEC isn't a leverage move with the Big XII much like they did last year.

A full article can be found at Tulsa World.

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