Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Longhorn Network: Threat, Menace, or Much Ado About Nothing?

Now that the latest bushfire in the neverending story of The Decline and Fall of the Big XII has been put out - that being the conference putting the kibbosh on The Longhorn Network airing Texas high school football games for a year - it's time to ask a serious question. That being has the whole Longhorn Network thing been blown all out of proportions?

There's been a whole lot of talk about how The Longhorn Network would change college football for the worse. How it would lead to a slew of single-college sports networks which would focus on the bigger college programs, and leave the smaller schools and conferences in the dust. The Longhorn Network was supposed to be the final nail in the coffin for the Big XII, and it still may be a factor in the conferences demise in the end. But so far, it hasn't happened.

When I first heard about The Longhorn Network, the first thing that came to mind (or so) was the subject of the first article I ever wrote for SWRT two years ago (back before I knew what I was doing or that it would eventually be focused on college football). It was an article about news of a possible WWE Network. At lot of posters on the message board were going all crazy about the idea of seeing a 24  pro wrestling network. I, on the other hand thought more time would be spent on the WWE's growing library of lackluster films from its film division than it would on new wrestling shows or even ten-to-twenty year old ones. In other words, it was an idea that sounded exciting, but wouldn't be anything close to meeting the expectations of its core audience.

That's pretty much what The Longhorn Network is turning out to be. An initial line-up of the network features a lot of programs talking about Texas Longhorn football and its past glories. There's going to be at least one (and possibly two) actual live broadcast of a Longhorn football game this season, but that's it for what the fanbase really wants to see. And the one sure game is going to be against Rice.

Furthermore, it would seem that a large group of cable companies don't have plans to add The Longhorn Network to their systems. That would make it harder to reach a broad audience. 

The ongoing meme this year has been about how The Longhorn Network would destroy college football as we know it. It looks more like it's going to have a long way to go before it can even think of doing that.

(via Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Corn Nation)

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