ESPN to Launch New Network TVWeek
ESPN will launch a new network in September, the all-sports company has announced.
The new network--yet to be named--will be a year-round, 24-hour-a-day channel dedicated to more than 200 sporting and other events involving the University of Texas.
It is the first time ESPN has partnered with an individual college for a fully devoted channel.
Initally, at least, ESPN will focus on selling the network to Texas cable operators, an ESPN spokesperson said.
The deal ESPN made is for 20 years and was made with the University of Texas and IMG College. The network will be based in Austin, Texas.
Programming highlights, according to an ESPN release, are:
* Football: at least one exclusive game involving University of Texas each season plus encore presentations of Texas games originally on other networks (Note: For the 2011 season, ESPN will work within existing programming contracts to coordinate football game scheduling). In addition, the network will also showcase the annual practice scrimmage during the Texas Spring Football Jamboree.
*Men’s Basketball: a minimum of eight exclusive games involving University of Texas each season plus encore presentations of Texas games originally on other networks
*Women’s Basketball: exclusive games (every one available) and encore telecasts involving one of the nation’s most successful women’s programs
*Olympic Sports: exclusive games (every one available) and encore presentations of University of Texas matchups in volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball, tennis, cross country, track and field, swimming and diving, golf and rowing.
The announcement also said that "ESPN will also create and operate a new, authenticated online/broadband site that will aspire to broadly aggregate content from around the state. It will provide fans, students and parents with access to extensive Texas high school sports, including football, basketball and more, through this centralized home."
High school football is very popular iin Texas.
Asked if this deal would be the blueprint for other such ESPN channels dedicated to programming from a single college, an ESPN spokesperson said that he doubted it. "This is a pretty unique deal," he said.