Longhorn Network

Longhorn Network
Launched August 26, 2011 (2011-08-26)[1]
Owned by University of Texas at Austin
IMG College
Picture format 720p (HD), 480i (SD)
Slogan Hook 'Em Horns
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters Austin, Texas
Sister channel(s) ESPN
ESPN Deportes
ESPN Classic
SEC Network
Website Longhorn Network
Dish Network Channel 407 (HD/SD)
DirecTV Channel 677 (HD only)
(AR, KS, LA and OK)
Check local listings
(AR, LA, NM, TX and VA)
Check local listings
Check local listings
Time Warner
Channel 383 (HD/SD)
AT&T U-verse Channel 611 (SD)
Channel 1611 (HD)
Verizon FiOS Texas:
Channel 79 (SD)
Channel 579 (HD)
Other areas:
Channel 320 (SD)
Google Fiber Channel 230 (HD/SD)
Streaming media
WatchESPN espn.go.com/longhornnetwork

The Longhorn Network (LHN) is an American regional sports network that is owned as a joint venture between the University of Texas at Austin, ESPN and IMG College, and is operated by ESPN (itself owned jointly by The Walt Disney Company and the Hearst Corporation). The network, which launched on August 26, 2011, focuses on the Texas Longhorns varsity sports teams of the University of Texas at Austin.

The Longhorn Network, whose name and logo was revealed during the Longhorns' spring football game on April 3, 2011,[2] features events from 20 different sports involving the Texas Longhorns athletics department, along with original and historical programming. The network also features academic and cultural content from the UT Austin campus.


The first national provider to carry the Longhorn Network was fiber optic television service Verizon FiOS, which announced a deal to carry the network in August 2011.[3] On August 31, 2012, the network began to be carried on AT&T U-verse. Several smaller cable providers throughout Texas have also added the channel – namely Consolidated Communications, Bay City Cablevision, Mid-Coast Cablevision, Texas Mid-Gulf Cablevision, En-Touch Systems, E-Tex Communications and Grande Communications.[4][5]

Currently, the only major provider serving Texas that does not carry the Longhorn Network is Comcast. The status of negotiations with Comcast are not publicly known.[4]

Carriage agreements


On October 4, 2012, New York-based Cablevision Systems Corporation began carrying LHN on its systems in the Western United States. Its New York City area systems were not included in the deal.[6] Two months later on December 12, Cox Communications announced a comprehensive long-term distribution agreement that included adding the Longhorn Network to its systems in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.[7][8] On December 31, 2012, Charter Communications announced that it would add LHN as part of a wide-range long-term carriage deal with ESPN and The Walt Disney Company. Charter also took over Cablevision's western systems in the first quarter of 2013 and maintained the rights agreed to by Cablevision for LHN. It is available on its systems in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia.[9][8]


On August 8, 2013, Time Warner Cable announced that it would begin carrying LHN in its Texas service areas.[10]


On March 3, 2014, The Walt Disney Company and Dish Network announced a deal to carry the Longhorn Network as part of a new long-term, wide-ranging distribution agreement.[11] The channel became available on the satellite provider on May 28 of that year. On December 23, 2014, DirecTV announced a long-term, wide-ranging distribution agreement with Disney that included the carriage of Longhorn Network. [12] Longhorn Network launched on DirecTV on January 21, 2015 along with Fusion. It became available on regional sports network on the Choice package in the Southwestern United States and on the Sports Pack everywhere else. [13]

Online presence

Although the Longhorn Network has an internet presence hosted by ESPN, it functions as a TV Everywhere service that is unavailable to subscribers unless their cable and internet service provider carries the network, with further geographical restrictions; WatchESPN enforces the same restrictions in carrying the Longhorn Network feed on that site.[14] Patrick Ryan, Policy Counsel, Open Internet at Google pointed out that the reach of LHN as of September 2012 was about 10 million potential viewers, whereas if it were online, it could reach 230 million viewers in the U.S., or as many as 2 billion potential viewers.[14]


Regular programming



The first live sports event broadcast on the network aired on the date of its launch, the women's volleyball team's 2011 season opener against the Pepperdine Waves. The first live football game telecast on the network aired on September 3, 2011, in which the Longhorns played against the Rice Owls.[17] The Longhorn Network would expand its sports coverage to include five UTSA Roadrunners football games to its schedule for sister campus University of Texas at San Antonio's inaugural football season, the first of which aired on September 10, 2011.[18] The majority of the live events are handled by the Longhorn Network Operations department, which manages the crew that sets up the equipment used to air the event. Over 200 live events were managed by this department during the 2011-2012 school year.

In 2015, Longhorn Network simulcast the featured groups coverage of ESPN's broadcast of the Open Championship, as it featured Longhorns alumni Jordan Spieth.[19]


High school football

From the initial announcement of the Longhorn Network, ESPN had made it known that it desired to broadcast up to 18 high school football games per season. The idea was a cause for concern among other Big 12 schools, especially Texas A&M, due to what that university viewed as possible recruiting violations, and was partly responsible for A&M's decision to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference in 2012.[20] During an August 1, 2011, meeting of all Big 12 athletic directors, it was decided that the issue of airing high school football games on the network would be postponed for one year, allowing time for the NCAA to rule on the matter.[21] On August 11, 2011, the NCAA ruled that no school or conference network would be permitted to broadcast high school sports or any other high school programming, effectively bringing the issue to a close.[22][23]

Big 12 Conference football

In addition to a non-conference game each season, ESPN desired to place a Big 12 Conference game on the Longhorn Network. At the same Big 12 meeting that discussed high school football telecasts, it was agreed upon that a conference game would be acceptable as long as both schools and the conference office approved the broadcast.[21] It was reported that ESPN asked Texas Tech for permission to broadcast the team's November 5 game against the Longhorns on the network. ESPN told the university that the game would most likely not be carried on any of the ESPN family of networks, leaving a broadcast on the LHN as its only option. In return, ESPN promised to televise two non-conference football games over the next four seasons, televise some other non-football programming, $5 million cash, and help from the network to try to arrange a home-and-home series against a top BCS conference school. Texas Tech passed on the offer with the university's chancellor Kent Hance explaining that "I don't want a Tech fan to have to give one dime to the Longhorn Network". ESPN then contacted Oklahoma State about airing games on the network; that university also refused the invitation to appear on the network.[24] Texas Athletics eventually announced that the Kansas Jayhawks had agreed to let its game against the Longhorns on October 29 air on LHN (the University of Kansas's third-tier media rights are also managed by LHN co-owner IMG College). The agreement allowed the Longhorn Network to be the national carrier of the game, except in Kansas markets, where the game was shown on broadcast television.[25] ESPN revealed plans to broadcast the Texas Tech-Texas State game on the Longhorn Network in 2012, however Texas Tech threatened to drop the game in favor of an 11-game schedule, resulting the game being removed from LHN's schedule.

In November 2012, ESPN syndicated a second feed of a Longhorn football home game against Iowa State to ABC-affiliated television stations across Iowa (including KETV in Omaha, Nebraska, which is owned by ESPN part-owner Hearst Corporation) to provide access to the game within that state. A secondary announcing team was used for the Iowa State feed.[26] The same was done in September 2013 for a matchup against Ole Miss throughout the state of Mississippi. Mediacom eventually established an online/traditional network with Iowa State in their service area, Cyclones.tv, featuring university programming, along with any live games featuring Texas which are only available through Longhorn Network.

Potential conflict of interest

Concerns have been raised by some fans, bloggers and journalists that ESPN's financial stake in the Longhorn Network creates a potential conflict of interest.[27][28][29] Some fear that ESPN's involvement in the network will inhibit journalistic integrity as that network has a financial interest in the success of the athletic programs at the University of Texas. Sports Illustrated writer Richard Deitsch wrote: "The network's existence... creates an impossible situation for ESPN's college football producers and reporters (plenty of whom care about reporting). For every story ESPN does on Texas and its opponents, they'll be skeptics wondering what the motivation was for the story."[30]

Additionally, some have questioned the stipulation included in the network's founding agreement that gives Texas the right to dismiss LHN announcers that do not "reflect the quality and reputation of UT."[27][31] An ESPN spokesperson addressed the situation by stating: "This is not common in ESPN agreements because this UT network is so unique/new for us ...The provision does not allow for random replacement of commentators or reaction to critical comments... it's more about potential situations where a commentator makes completely inappropriate comments or gets involved in inappropriate actions."[32]



  1. Texas' Longhorn Network raising some concerns around Big 12, USA Today, retrieved 25 July 2011
  2. "ESPN and University of Texas unveil 'Longhorn Network' name and logo," from TexasSports.com, 4/3/2011
  3. ESPN's Longhorn Network Corrals Verizon FiOS As First Announced Affiliate Multichannel News August 25, 2011
  4. 1 2 Longhorn Network Adds Six Texas Operators Multichannel News August 26, 2011
  5. Grande adds Longhorn Network Austin American-Statesman September 2, 2011
  6. Longhorn Network signs deal with Cablevision Systems Houston Chronicle October 4, 2012
  7. Kristie Chong Adler. "The Walt Disney Company and Cox Communications Announce Comprehensive Distribution Agreement - ESPN MediaZone". ESPN MediaZone.
  8. 1 2 "Frequently Asked Questions about the Longhorn Network". go.com.
  9. Press release (31 December 2012). "The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications Announce New Distribution Agreement". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  10. Kristie Chong Adler. "Time Warner Cable Launches Longhorn Network - ESPN MediaZone". ESPN MediaZone.
  11. Kristie Chong Adler. "The Walt Disney Company and DISH Network Sign Groundbreaking Long-term, Wide-ranging Agreement - ESPN MediaZone". ESPN MediaZone.
  12. "DIRECTV - DIRECTV and The Walt Disney Company Sign Expansive Agreement". directv.com.
  13. "Ande Wall on Twitter". Twitter.
  14. 1 2 “College sports should hook ‘em online”, from Policy By the Numbers (September 8, 2012)
  15. Longhorn Network to launch Aug. 26; first slate of shows announced, Austin American-Statesman, retrieved 25 July 2011
  16. Longhorn Network announces additional programming, Austin American-Statesman, retrieved 5 August 2011
  17. Longhorn Network names on-air team, KXAN-TV. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  18. "Longhorn Network to air 5 UTSA home football games". statesman.com.
  19. "British Open 2015 viewing guide: Coverage schedule and how to watch live online from St. Andrews". SBNation. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  20. Staples, Andy (July 5, 2012). "TCU finally in Big 12". Inside College Football. Sports Illustrated. p. 2. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  21. 1 2 Big 12 sets up restrictions on Longhorn Network, Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 1 August 2011
  22. High school games cannot be on school networks, CBS Sports, retrieved 11 August 2011
  23. Finger, Mike (August 11, 2011). "Longhorn Network's high school plans permanently shot down". San Antonio Express. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  24. Tech says no to Longhorn Network, Amarillo Globe-News. Retrieved 9 August 2011/
  25. Texas-Kansas football game to air on Longhorn Network, TexasSports.com. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  26. Dinges, Gary (9 November 2012). "Texas-Iowa State game to air, but Longhorn Network remains tough to find". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  27. 1 2 Open Mikes: Is the Longhorn Network a good or bad idea? USA Today. Retrieved August 29, 2011
  28. Longhorn Network Contract Between Texas and ESPN Revealed, Big 12 Future Not Bright The Big Lead. Retrieved August 29, 2011
  29. ESPN's Texas Longhorn Network - Good For College Sports? Corn Nation. Retrieved August 29, 2011
  30. College Football TV Roundtable SI.com. Retrieved August 29, 2011
  31. ESPN Talent on the Longhorn Network Better Be Nice – or the University of Texas Might Have You Replaced The Big Lead. Retrieved August 29, 2011
  32. Longhorns TV Deal: Texas Can Fire ESPN Broadcasters Burnt Orange Nation. Retrieved August 29, 2011

Further reading

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/27/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.