SBD/September 9, 2010/Sports Media

Texas AD Dodds Says Longhorn Network Will Launch In Fall '11

Dodds Says Cable Operators Interested In Longhorn Network

Univ. of Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said that “the Longhorn Network will be launched in 2011” and may even have a “soft start” later this year, according to Chip Brown of ORANGEBLOODS.com. Dodds: “I think we are on target to be up and running in the fall of next year. Maybe even a soft start in 2010 and a hard start in 2011.” But Dodds “wanted it clear that the school is putting up no money to launch” the network. All the financing “will come from IMG and whichever cable partner is selected to operate” the network. Dodds: “We are not going to own anything or have an investment in it.” Dodds is “hopeful the programming on the Longhorn Network will include one football game and 'some number of basketball games.'” Dodds said “there are three entities” interested in operating the Longhorn Network, including “a leader in the clubhouse.” Dodds: “The one we are looking at, walks in with 500,000 subscribers the day we turn the key.” He added, “It’s just got a lot of parts to it that are very positive. It’s not exclusively athletics, probably 20 percent of the programming would be centered around the university and non-athletic programming. It could be anything we want to make it, but it’s got to be something people want to see.” Brown noted ADs from Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech recently met with Learfield officials “to explore possibilities of forming their own network.” Dodds said, “I think OU and Missouri want their own. That’s somebody else’s business. It doesn’t change anything we’re doing” (ORANGEBLOODS.com, 9/8).

NAME RECOGNITION: Raycom Sports and the ACC have announced that beginning this season, the Raycom Sports Regional Syndicated package of ACC football and basketball broadcasts will be branded as the ACC Network. The new marketing initiative will feature ACC Network graphics and designations beginning with Saturday's Duke-Wake Forest football game. The ACC Network branding was part of the new TV rights agreements between the ACC, Raycom Sports and ESPN that begins with the ’11 football season (Raycom).

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