Ravell Call, Deseret News archives
Some of you may have missed the little blurb in Sports Illustrated recently about the dust up in the Big 12 Conference over the University of Texas’ Longhorn Network. Seems the rest of the conference isn't thrilled that UT's television network will gain an unfair advantage with recruits by televising Texas high school football games, much less its own games.
The commish of the Big 12 has issued a moratorium on the Longhorn Network televising Texas high school games until conference members meet to hash out a resolution.
According to the article by Michael Rosenberg, Texas had threatened last year to leave the Big 12, which has a $90 million-a-year TV contract with Fox, but stayed because the conference "gave them the freedom to cut their own (TV) deal," which it did with ESPN.
Now, there's turmoil within the ranks because Texas has its own television network.
Care to wager that folks in Austin, Texas, will be tuning in to BYU-TV this fall and not just for "Scrapbook Memories" or "Living Essentials?" They'll be watching closely because if BYU is successful at marketing its own brand, co-oping with ESPN on televising its games as an independent, don't you think Texas will bolt the Big 12 at some point?
Despite the many advantages of conference membership, if you have your own TV network, you're bound to draw suspicion if not the envy of your peers.
Texas' troubles in the Big 12 with the Longhorn Network are just beginning.
As has been mentioned a gazillion times, Notre Dame is the ideal independent, but the Irish had the luxury of having its own network deal with NBC and of course being, well, Notre Dame.
What Notre Dame doesn't have and didn't have to have, is an on-campus television network, which Texas and BYU have. Clearly, not everyone has that luxury, but BYU and Texas do.
Here's the thing: they're not alone. Two immediately come to mind — the University of Missouri and Syracuse — because they're in BCS conferences that seem in perpetual turmoil, unlike the stable SEC, Big 10, or Pac-12.
Missouri, of the Big 12, owns and operates the only on-campus commercial-run television station in the U.S. — KOMO-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, Mo. It has the infrastructure to pull it off.
Syracuse, of the Big East, owns the Orange Television Network, which boasts the nation's first student cable TV station broadcast in HD-TV. The Newhouse School of broadcast journalism is regarded among the best in the field and turn out a steady stream of the industry's finest and a huge alumni base in broadcasting including Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, Marv Albert, Sean McDonough, and Dick Stockton.
Now conferences are creating their own networks — the Pac-12 just joined the Big 10 in that realm.
It was just a matter of time before the colleges recognized what the pros have been doing.
The reason the New York Yankees are the New York Yankees is because of the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, which used to be Cablevision — the teams own cash cow. It allows them to renew Alex Rodriquez, keep Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and sign CC Sabathia and power hitter Mark Teixeira.
Cable giant Comcast Spectacor, based in Philadelphia, figured it out and purchased the Philadelphia 76ers to pair with the NHL Flyers to create content for its local cable programming. It hasn't worked out quite as well as it has in New York for the Yankees. Comcast is dumping the 76ers after years of unsuccessfully trying to add the Phillies in an attempt to bolster its lineup and corner the Philly sports market.
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