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Amidst the turmoil surrounding the Big 12 Conference over the past year, discussions about the University of Texas’ Longhorn Network (LHN) had gone quiet.
Over the spring, it seemed that even the number of promos aired on ESPN channels for LHN coverage of UT baseball and softball had decreased.
Well, an article in today’s Houston Chronicle shows that UT is as committed as ever to the ESPN-produced product.
UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds said Friday the Longhorns expect to have at least two and possibly three football games broadcast on the Longhorn Network this fall. A third game would be an increase from last year, when his office received widespread complaints about fans’ inability to watch two games on LHN.
Please don't hang me, I'am just the messenger.
Three football games on LHN? So, much for the one “third-tier rights” game per year on a school’s owned/branded network in the Big 12 Conference. Actually, UT and ESPN will probably keep their one Big 12 Conference game per year on LHN and then twist the arms of some of UT’s non-conference opponents and FOX to let the other two games ‘fall’ to their third-tiered LHN.
If ESPN isn’t able to get more cable and satellite providers to pick up LHN, I could see them trying to up the ante even more get a fourth football game on LHN in 2013.
Right now, with the way the Big 12 Conference schedule is structured, realistically the maximum amount of games LHN could air without massive changes to the Big 12 Conference television contract is 4 per season. One Big 12 Conference game and three UT non-conference home games.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by hornokc 2 years ago
The only way Texas could get 3 non-conference home games would be to go to 12+ teams which would reduce the conference games to 8.
If I was FOX I would tell ESPN and UT to f' off.
This is a case of the beatings continuing until the morale improves. Adding 3 and then 4 games to a channel no one can watch is similar to simply not showing them. The idea that fans are so stupid that they're going to keep blaming the carriers and not the network and the program tells you how disconnected the administration is to reality. People are going to complain to the carriers ahead of game 1, bitch at UT and ESPN for game 2, and yawn during game 3 and watch other games. 2013 will be worse. They need to get a satellite deal done. They're actively working to destroy one of the greatest brands in sports if they add 3rd and 4th games.
Adding 3 and then 4 games is the best way to ensure that the LHN will not retain its status as a channel no one can watch. Another smart move. When Alexander the Great decided to continue his campaign instead of accepting half of Persia, one of his war weary generals, who happened to be named CTJ, said if I were Alexander, I would would accept that offer. To which Alexander replied, and if I were CTJ so would I.
Do I have to point out the gigantic flaw in your logic?
In your analogy he conquered half of the continent already. The LHN has not not even won a skirmish. They are doubling down on a losing strategy and risking the entire brand in the process.
Good dose of personal irony for me in you quoting Alexander the Great. Did you know he ruled the known world by 18? That is a hell of a thing for anyone else to live up to, even when life expectancy inflation is factored in.
You're clearly thinking like the administration, but I don't think you've read up lately or thought much about how prisoners' dilemmas work. Nor has the admin. They think the dominant strategy is to take more and more product off of the mainstream. If that causes carriers to then show it, they win. If that causes more fans to show up to games when they can't see it, they tie. The idea, I guess, is that if they capitulate on something, they're upside is net negative from not having done the deal at all, or that the carriers still don't cave.
In truth, I am not sure there is a dominant strategy. They can't accurately peg the fanbase loyalty, as it hasn't been tested through non-viewership since the age of CFB tv ubiquity. There might be a nonlinear impact for them in there somewhere if they just go away for a third of each season. Potential new or die hard fans might turn elsewhere and never look back.
The administration seems to think that Texas sports is an inelastic good for them. That is a dangerous bet with something so fickle as fandom.
The problem with prisoners' dillemmas is that only those with a vested interest in the outcome but no stakes on the line (cops) win. In this instance, that is every athletic program in college sports playing second fiddle to Texas, or more or less all of them. I am simply rooting for a carrier to pick things up soon. Then all of this goes away.
Egos out of control.
Your mind, it operates on a low plane.
Going away?! Hell, I've never seen it. I just wish it would appear!
The brand is not at risk. There will be no shortage of angry short-sighted fans to be sure, but that is just part of the game. At this point it is ESPN that bears the risk and that controls the negotiations. That is a good thing. The value in the contract lies in the deals that are cut in the next few years. Proning oneself and hoping that a satellite carrier will pick up the LHN is a strategy, but not a winning one.
anyone really think LHN was going away?
No. Btw your sig is still incorrect.
I believe you have a firm grasp of the situation. ESPN is the closest thing in the US to an unregulated monopoly. They pay whatever it takes to buy the rights on all the best sports properties and pass it along to all the cable companies on the basic tier customers. The other guys pick up leftovers or one time events like the Olympics that are difficult to build into regular monthly rates until there are so many of them they become incremental.
What ESPN needs to do is let the providers sell to the people that want to buy. They want to force the cable companies to pay for 100% of the customers while only 1% want to watch 98% of the programming on the LHN network. The one to three football games might draw 20% since they will be dog games. Twelve hours of real programming. We have dealt with these scumbags before (espn) and they make the upfront on the high end of low and then ramp the pricing up on a steep curve. That is why UT believes LHN is going to end up being multiples of 15 million per year since that is the minimum payment.
Put your pressure on ESPN and tell them to allow the companies to put it out as a premium for those that actually want to pay for it. To get to their revenue targets in the early years, you will probably have to pay about $12 per month. That is with little markup by cable companies.
You will never see a satellite deal done unless it is on the same basis as I just mentioned. UT is a power in Texas and a solid ratings team everywhere on good games. Not so much on third tier games nationally, regionally, or even within the state.
I have seen people trying to argue back with the Big10 network being on basic in a number of areas. My answer is to bring a Big12 network that has multiple options rather than the highest low point of one university and we can at least consider it at some price point.
My company is not in Texas, but I can tell you that these discussions have taken place. ESPN believes they can bring the radical fringe to bear enough to force others to the table. It is not likely to happen soon because rights fees are ramping up too quickly and companies are losing customers because of it.
Finally, and I will never post on a LHN thread again, Verizon is offering this on Fios strictly as a marketing ploy. They were not reaching their subscriber targets and needed a splash. I haven't price shopped them lately, but they used to be fairly high after the promo period. If you are "lucky" enough to go that route, don't be surprised when they either drop LHN at the end of the first contract or boost rates substantially. Verizon is only willing to eat marketing loss leaders so long.
I am one of the 1% as far as being a fan, but this is one of the most immoral things I have ever seen. You might also want to know that they are also one of the leaders in trying to force the cable model over to the Internet. ESPN3 is only offered to ISPs willing to pay a rights fee on ALL of its subscribers. The number of people watching that is extremely low and end up using too much bandwidth at the end of the month.
Finally, this model works fine when it works in your favor. You would much rather pay $0.50 rather than $12.00. It isn't so great when there are 50 channels working in the other direction at the same price that you never watch. The only reason you hear about this channel versus the others is that ESPN is the worst of the lot (marginally beating out Fox) for pure greed in the ramping of fees.
Dodds said he’s prepared for mass outrage if it isn’t picked up in time for the football season. “But the pain will be worth the gain,” Dodds said.
He obviously doesn't feel our pain as much as we don't feel his gain.
More football games on Longhorn Network a possibility
I sense a tension developing between Mack and Dodds on this. Mack knows recruits want to be on tv. High school stars come to Texas partly because they want to be like Texas stars they watched on tv and because they know (at least used to know) every game will be on tv. The brand strength is what it is because of winning. Recruiting is the key to winning. Everything starts from recruiting, so if you want to maintain a strong brand, recruiting should be primary in every decision. Honestly, there is really no other reason other than recruiting that A&M moved to the SEC. Dodds is playing with fire by being so beholden to ESPN's quest for rates.
This post was edited by 3rdGenHorn 2 years ago
The brand will not be at risk because Wyoming, New Mexico, and Iowa state will not be available to the mainstream public. And Deloss knows this. John Q Texas fan will gripe a little but as long as ou, west Virginia, TCU, okie state, and Texas tech are on tv they will be satisfied in the end. And said fan will continue to fill up the athletic department coffers buying Texas merchandise.
As much as folks around here like to think they matter, in the grand scheme of things, there aren't enough people who care to rock the boat, in neither Belmont nor the offices of Twc, DirectTV, or Dish.
Delo$$ gets his money and screws the Texas fans is nothing new
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by GoHorns 1 2 years ago
Let me get this straight:
Alexander = Dodds? ESPN?
Army = fans?
Opposing forces = cable companies?
The army revolted about 3 years later when Alexander decided to keep going into the Indian subcontinent, Alexander went back to one of the Persian capitals, became a fat drunk, and died a year later, and the empire immediately fell apart.
I don't know, but it seems that kind of historical precedent doesn't seem to bode well for any of us. Essentially you are telling us that Dodds and ESPN execs are sacrificing fans so they can go out drunker than they might have before.
Oh, well. I guess I did wish them all that kind of new year once, didn't I? At the time I didn't reflect on how I might have been drawing on historical precedent.
This post was edited by bierce 2 years ago
I don't buy this at all. Kids don't watch the games on TV. Too many distractions at their age and watching football on TV is not really a social experience, which all of the kids are much more interested in, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. serving as their mouth and ears.
This post was edited by SizzleTheft 2 years ago
Dude, hope is not a strategy and I wasn't advocating one. All we have is hope and what you're espousing is false hope.
"oh, the brand is not at risk. (whistling ... Graveyards).
You don't know shit about brands if you think Texas can be on a third less than regional and national competitors for both football and basketball and not be putting the brand at risk. That is not playing the long game and not understanding the ame they're in. These are bureaucrats who have won due to timing. If you think Dodds and Plnosky have some kind of magical grip on something as ethereal as an emerging brand, you are truly hopeless. The irony is you're attempting to talk about not being shortsighted.
...not sure anything can go away if it's never been here
That's all you have to come back with? Surely you have another poor historical analogy to throw out.
Tell us how Dodds should charge the line like General Pickett to break the cable carriers stronghold.
Whenever someone prefaces a post with "Let me get this straight:" you can be assured that they will not.
Fortunately greater minds than yours are guiding this ship. All will be well, and I'll enjoy reading your increasingly shrill posts in the next few years. Keep hope alive!!
The fan outrage strategy might have had more traction if we were competing for titles of any kind, or at least pumping out 10 win seasons. Finishing at a gnat's ass above .500 over a two year period is not the best time to try and parlay fanatic outrage over a lack of programming into a distribution deal.
Thank God for justintv and people with souls allowing the average schmo some access to LHN games.
I got brains. I got big ol' brains. I got dinosaur brains.
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