ESPN To Launch University of Texas Network in September
via press release:
ESPN Reaches Agreement To Launch University of Texas Network in Sept.
24-hour, Yet-to-be-Named Network Based in Austin
ESPN has reached a 20-year agreement with The University of Texas and IMG College to develop, launch and operate a year-round, 24-hour network dedicated to UT. The network, scheduled to launch in September 2011, will offer a variety of content, highlighted by more than 200 exclusive events annually from numerous sports, original series and studio shows, historical programming and academic and cultural happenings. The agreement was announced by George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, and University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr.
Additionally, an on-line broadband companion to the TV network will offer extensive content, particularly events not featured on the linear TV network due to simultaneous events or other overlapping programming.
“This network is a testament to the school’s remarkable, tradition-rich success and widespread, devoted fan base,” Bodenheimer said. “We are excited to work with Texas as well as IMG on this one-of-a-kind opportunity to create a dynamic new home – both through television and broadband outlets — for all things UT, 365 days a year.”
“This is an extremely exciting new venture for our university,” Powers said. “With our partners, we are now able to increase the exposure of our outstanding athletics programs and our first-class academic and cultural communities. This agreement provides significant new resources to enhance faculty and academic support.”
DeLoss Dodds, UT Men’s Athletics Director, added, “We have been working with IMG College to bring this television network together for several years and we are excited and proud to say it will be here soon. This network will provide unmatched exposure for our sports programs and campus academic community. ESPN is the global sports leader, and having this relationship on our campus will be special for all associated with the university. Our commitment to the Big 12 Conference allowed us to pursue this. We want to be as strong as we can be for us and the Big 12.”
Network planning to date includes the following:
The network will present more than 200 exclusive events each year, plus encore presentations of many games. Among the highlights:
- 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.
ESPN expects to have an on-campus studio presence in Austin for the network. Studio programming is likely to include:
- Pre- and post-game Programs: for various events, including every football game, every men’s basketball game, and many others
- Coaches Shows: original programming with coaches for every University of Texas sport
- Other Studio Programming: daily studio content showcasing breaking news, highlights, and more
Additional Original Sports Programming
The network will also be home to a range of original shows, series and experiences related to UT Athletics such as:
- Season Previews/Reviews: for all University of Texas sports
- Documentaries: biographies, student-athlete features and other storytelling-driven shows
- Athletic Tradition: coverage of pep rallies, athletic awards presentations, tailgating, campus traditions, cheer and POM showcases and more
- Misc: live radio shows, reports from the Athletic Directors, merchandise/memorabilia opportunities, etc.
Academic, Arts and Cultural Content
Fans can also expect to get a taste of non-athletic content relevant to The University of Texas on the network:
- Academic: university news, commencement activities, lectures and visiting speakers
- Culture/Arts: coverage of arts, music and theater events, including ones at UT as well as the surrounding Austin area to provide a flavor of the community
High School Coverage
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.
ESPN, Inc., is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six 24-hour domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes) and ESPN 3D, an event-based network. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS HD are simulcast services. Other businesses include ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (46 networks, syndication, radio, websites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN3.com (broadband sports network) ESPN Mobile, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN PPV and other growing new businesses, including ESPN on Demand and ESPN Interactive. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
University of Texas
UT Athletics supports approximately 525 men and women student-athletes in a successful and broad-based NCAA Division I intercollegiate program, and employs more than 300 full-time staff members. Baseball was the first intercollegiate sport to begin competition at UT, and the Longhorns played their first season in 1896. Since then, all 20 University of Texas sports programs have combined to win 48 national championships.
IMG College is the leader in capturing consumer devotion to college sports through partnership opportunities in licensing, marketing, events and hospitality, multimedia rights, stadium and arena development, sales, and consulting across local, regional, and national platforms. IMG College partners with the nation’s top collegiate brands, including the NCAA and its 88 championships, NCAA Football, leading conferences, and some of the most prestigious universities in the country. IMG College is a division of IMG Worldwide, the world’s premier sports, media, and entertainment company. For more information, please visit www.imgworld.com.