ESPN's Longhorn Network Fumbles on College Football Opening Weekend (Video)
The dedicated channel to the University of Texas sports shows its limitations leading up to Saturday's opening game vs. Rice.
ESPN hasn't exactly "hooked 'em horns" with its launch of the Longhorn Network. The dedicated channel to University of Texas sports is not yet available on several cable carriers and various subscription services like DirecTV for the opening weekend of college football season.
Complaints about the broadcasting fumble are rampant on UT-centric blogs and message boards. Burnt Orange Nation writes, "Many a Longhorn fan is fit to be tied that as of this writing they are not able to tune to the most sought after channel on their HD service and find ESPNLHN." Hookemfans wrote on Twitter, "Football season is here, and I still don't get the Longhorn Network. Even worse, the airwaves have been filled with Aggies." ScottEnyeart complained, "Calling direct tv to check status of #Longhorn network and direct tv rep doesn't know what it is."
ESPN blames the lack of availability on carriers. It said in a statement, "We're disappointed that operators are choosing to deprive Texas fans of valuable content, including this weekend's Rice vs. UT game."
ESPN and the University of Texas sealed their $300 million deal for the channel in January without cable or satellite TV distribution partners. The 20-year agreement promised a range of content for fans, including more than 200 exclusive sports events, original series and studio shows, historical programming and content about academic and cultural happenings.
As of this week, however, no more than a few thousand households nationwide had access to the channel, reports the Houston Chronicle. ESPN announced this week that it had inked the channel's first major distribution deal with Verizon's FiOS service. But even then, only about 250,000 of FiOS' 3.9 million customers would have access to the service if they lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs, notes the Chronicle.
Time Warner, Comcast, Dish Network and DirecTV do not presently carry the Longhorn Network, which carries the catchy tagline: One school, one star, one state.
University of Texas alum Matthew McConaughey stars in the promo for the Longhorn Network below: