While most college athletic programs are happy to cash big checks from their conference’s broadcast media networks, a few schools can do that one better. Some schools have been able to put together their own broadcast media package that has a very significant revenue advantage–they don’t have to split up the money with the other institutions in their conference. Notre Dame was the first to do this with a religious tie-in and a worldwide alumni base. They don’t have their own network, but they don’t need to–they have a long-running deal with NBC that pays them $15 million per year.
Another religious school was among the next to follow suit. Brigham Young University leveraged the cutting edge media capabilities of the LDS Church to put together their own broadcasting network. In the process, they became a football ‘Independent’ to better able to control their own financial dealings. BYU only does this with football, however, meaning that their ‘network’ is more of an in-house syndication arrangement.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS CREATES ‘THE LONGHORN NETWORK’:
In 2011, the University of Texas launched The Longhorn Network in partnership with ESPN. In the process, it became the first 24/7 TV network devoted to athletics coverage from a single university. The University of Texas has roughly 40,000 students on their main Austin campus and a huge regional and national audience. They’ve had a problem getting nationwide clearance on the major cable networks. To date, only Verizon-FIOS has given the Longhorn Network nationwide coverage. With this exception, most of their audience is in the state of Texas or on smaller regional cable systems.
Despite currently reaching only 10 million households, the Longhorn Network’s digital presence (also operated in partnership with ESPN) is available only to subscribers of affiliated cable services. This policy makes even less sense for the Longhorn Network than it does for most of their peers–they could reach an audience of 280 million if they’d open their service to online subscriptions. For now, however, this is the only official way to get streaming coverage of The Longhorn Network.
ALTERNATE WAYS TO ACCESS LONGHORN NETWORK STREAMING:
Unless you’re in one of the 10 million US households that The Longhorn Network reaches, you’ll have to find other ways to watch University of Texas sports. Fortunately, there’s little trouble finding Texas Longhorns’ football or basketball action online. As one of the biggest sports programs in the country, they’re easy to find on any of the live game streaming sites. These websites include ATDHE, VIPBOX, firstrowsports and Stream2Watch among others. New sites come online often, so a Google search is always the best place to start.
Finding a 24/7 network stream of The Longhorn Network is significantly more difficult. Google is once again the place to start, and you might get lucky and find a good 24/7 stream quickly. Fan message boards are also a good source of network streaming information. There is at least one website that provides an index of 24/7 network streams–Stream2Video.TV. This site has an extensive list of 24/7 network streams from around the world, but there’s no guarantee of the availability or quality of individual networks.