Texas reaches 20-year, $300 million deal with ESPN

By Jim Vertuno

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 19 2011 1:34 p.m. MST

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas on Wednesday announced a 20-year, $300 million deal with ESPN for a 24-hour television network that will broadcast Longhorn sports and other content.

The deal includes Texas' licensing and marketing partner IMG College, with more than 80 percent of revenue set to go to the university.

The network contract will not replace existing deals between the Big 12 and ESPN-ABC and Fox. The network has not yet been named.

"We want to define what it means to be 'the' public university," Texas President William Powers said. "The challenge is to create new sources of revenue to support our mission."

ESPN will handle distribution in Texas and other states, and will own the Austin-based network, which will broadcast at least 200 Texas sporting events, including at least one football game each season and multiple replays from other networks, and the annual spring football scrimmage.

It will also include a minimum of eight basketball games and replays of games broadcast on other networks. Women's basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer and other sports also would be broadcast.

Programming will also include some academic and cultural shows.

Officials plan to launch the still-unnamed network in September.

George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports, called the network "a testament to the school's remarkable, tradition-rich success and widespread, devoted fan base."

AP Sports Writer Rachel Cohen in New York contributed to this report.

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