AUSTIN, Texas — The soon-to-launch Longhorn Network has its first national carrier.
Verizon has announced it will carry the ESPN-backed network for its FiOS TV subscribers. The 24-hour channel dedicated to University of Texas sports launches Friday and will broadcast the Longhorns' first game against Rice on Sept. 3.
ESPN and Texas announced a $300 million, 20-year deal for the network in January.
The Verizon distribution deal puts the network within reach of about 4 million viewers nationally. Verizon officials say it will eventually also be available to FiOS TV subscribers online, on tablets and smartphones.
Texas and ESPN have not yet announced any major cable or satellite carriers for the network.