Cable customers in Austin, Texas, don’t have access to their hometown University of Texas’ Longhorn Network.
But starting next fall, those Texas subscribers will be able to see plenty of the Longhorns’ bitter rival through hours of University of Oklahoma-branded programming, thanks to a deal that’s close to being signed with Fox Sports.
According to a report in the Sports Business Journal, the University of Oklahoma and Fox Sports are working to finalize an agreement that would give the Sooners their own brand sports television network.
It's similarly structured to the Longhorn Network in that it will feature OU's third-tier TV rights, including at least one live football game, several men’s and women’s basketball games and Olympic sports. Where it's not similar is in the 24-hour broadcast and of course in the total dollars (which have yet to be disclosed) or expected length of the deal.
The obvious major advantage between the two bitter rivals' networks is that Oklahoma's will be immediately available via Fox Sports regional networks cable distribution where as the Texas Network is still available in a very small number of homes (comparatively speaking) and reportedly no closer to making a deal to change that fact.
OU’s deal with Fox alleviates the pressure that comes with starting a new network from scratch, which would entail everything from building out studios and hiring talent to negotiating with cable and satellite carriers and setting up a sales staff. One of the Sooners’ primary objectives in striking a deal with Fox was to launch their branded content on a partner that offered complete distribution from day one, sources said.
I'll leave it up to our resident expert, Redhawk, to expound more on the details of the report but my uneducated brain tells me this looks to be a pretty good deal overall for OU.