Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the Longhorn Network was “a boulder in the road” for the league’s long-range TV plans and he’d like to work around the ESPN channel, if at all possible.
During an interview at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Bowlsby talked about several topics during an open question-and-answer session, according to The Oklahoman.
But his comments about LHN will likely perk up ears with Texas administrators.
Asked specifically how the Longhorn Network was doing and how it impacts long-term planning, Bowlsby said, “The Longhorn Network is a boulder in the road. It really is. They did something that almost no other institution in the country could do because of the population in the state, and we’re looking at some way to try and morph that around a little bit.”
“It really begs the question about, how are we going to get our sports in the years ahead?,” Bowlsby continued. “If technology changes in the next five years as much as it’s changed in the last five years, we’re not going to be getting our sports by cable TV. I don’t know what it’ll be. But increasingly, we’re using mobile devices … Google Network and Apple TV and things like that are coming into play.”
Bowlsby added, “I’m not sure the world needs another exclusive college cable network. Rather than trying to do what everybody else has done, I would much rather try to figure out what tomorrow’s technology is and get on the front side of that and be a part of what happens going forward and monetize that.”
Longhorn Network is still one of the most unique channels in the nation. The university receives $15 million annually to broadcast nothing but Texas athletics 24 hours a day.
However, the channel still hasn’t received widespread distribution. Dish Network picked up the channel prior to the football season, but DirecTV, the larger of the two national satellite companies, has not added it to its lineup.
Texas officials have tried to boost LHN’s value by adding football games to the broadcast schedule. Games against North Texas and Iowa State were shown on LHN this season. However, it’s doubtful the Big 12 office will ever let Texas broadcast a marquee game on the network.
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