SBD/February 9, 2011/Media

OU Network Will Benefit School's Future, But Out-Of-State Carriage A Key

Univ. of Oklahoma net could make school about $5M annually
Navigate Marketing President A.J. Maestas said that "assuming the Big 12 crumbles, Oklahoma's progress is sunny" due to the school's "capability for, and progress on, its own television network," according to Jake Trotter of the DAILY OKLAHOMAN. The Univ. of Texas "claims it will make a staggering $15 million a year off its ESPN deal" for its own network, though a "few million less at the outset as UT attempts to build its network from the ground up." Maestas said Oklahoma "would be fortunate to get half of that, and a third is probably more reasonable." Maestas: "That's not a knock on Oklahoma's fan base, that's just the economic reality of the population base." But he noted that the "true advantage of having a personal network ... isn't near-term economics." Instead, the "true advantage lies in the branding, recruiting, exposure and expansion of the Sooner footprint beyond state lines that will make OU all the more attractive to other conferences when the inevitable wave of conference realignment strikes again." Trotter wrote an OU network "inside Oklahoma would have its payoff," But the state "has limited TV sets" and OU has "the state's eyeballs on them already." Therefore, "maximizing the channel's full potential hinges on whether OU can somehow get the channel up and running on cable packages outside the state." Maestas: "The key is expanding the geographic influence. If they're smart, they'll charge small amounts of money to have it on the basic tier in other states" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 2/7).

NEXT IN LINE: In Honolulu, Ferd Lewis reported Oceanic Time Warner Cable is "moving toward the creation" of an "all-University of Hawaii channel on its statewide system." No date "was given for the debut, but signs point to the possibility of it being operational as soon as this fall." While UH athletic events "would be a mainstay of the new channel, sports features and classics [have] been discussed and an academic component would be included." There "may also be student involvement." Lewis noted Oceanic's current sports deal with UH runs through '14 and "guarantees UH a minimum of $2.3 million per year plus a share of revenues past certain thresholds" (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 2/8).
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