Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong celebrates a score with Caleb Bluiett against the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday, Oct 10, 2015. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Football

Bucking tradition, Texas-Oklahoma game is relegated to FS1

Big 12 spokesman says Fox had first pick of games on Oct. 8, chose to stage matchup on cable channel

Posted June 1st, 2016

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IRVING — The Red River Showdown is being shoved down the sports TV dial.

The Big 12 announced Wednesday that this fall’s Texas-Oklahoma football game will be televised on cable-based Fox Sports 1 instead of a traditional over-the-air broadcast channel like ABC.

No kickoff time has been set, though both UT and OU officials have long been against scheduling that game at night. It falls during the Texas State Fair, and is played at the Cotton Bowl, on site of the state fair.

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It’s the first time Texas-OU has been broadcast by Fox since 1998. For many years, the game was televised nationally by ABC.

A Big 12 spokesman said Fox and ESPN alternate which gets the first pick of games each week. Fox has the first and third pick of games on Oct. 8, so the network grabbed Texas-OU and chose to place it on FS1.

Texas-OU has long been one the Big 12’s highest-rated marquee games of the season. Last year’s game earned a 3.3 national rating, which equates to almost 5 million viewers, according to ratings compiled by Sports Media Watch.

FS1’s highest-rated game of the entire 2015 season was the Michigan-Utah matchup on Sept. 3. That game drew a 1.7 rating, which equates to about 2.9 million viewers. The network said that was its highest-rated, most-watched game ever.

The majority of games on FS1 last season drew less than 1 million viewers.

Also on Wednesday, UT announced kickoff times for two home games. The Sept. 10 game against UTEP will kick off at 6 p.m. on the Longhorn Network. The Nov. 25 game against TCU will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on either Fox or FS1.

Texas officials also announced that the Sept. 17 game at California will kickoff at 9:30 p.m. Central time. That game will air on ESPN or ESPN2.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com

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