UT, you’re on the air in 3 … 2 …


It’s an exciting time to be a Longhorn.  On Friday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m., the Longhorn Network, the nation’s first network partnership devoted to a single university, goes live.

First things first: we need a big crowd on the South Mall Friday afternoon because our first moments on the air will be a live broadcast of College GameDay, and our partner, ESPN, is pulling out all the stops for the big launch. So come out by 5:00, wear burnt orange, get rowdy, and you’ll be able to say you were there for the first hour of the Longhorn Network.

For those of you who can’t make it to campus, hopefully you’ll be watching from home. It’s customary for distribution negotiations to continue until the last possible minute, and ours has been no exception. Deals are still being finalized, and to find out whether your provider is carrying the network check http://www.texassports.com/multimedia/tv-network-aggregate.html. If your provider is not yet listed, we encourage you to contact them and request the Longhorn Network.

This partnership is a huge development in the life of the University. Although UT’s 20 sports will be its mainstay, you will see a substantial amount of programming shining the spotlight on UT’s intellectual life. Game Changers will feature live-in-studio talks by UT’s most engaging professors. You’ll also see expertly produced segments on research and discovery, teaching, campus life, and cultural performances as well as films and documentaries by students.

The network will also carry live broadcasts of many annual campus events, starting with my State of the University Address on Sept. 14. I know the quality and breadth of coverage we’re about to see will make you even prouder of our amazing university.

In addition to all that, the revenue that the network will generate – $300 million over 20 years – will help support academic programs. Already we have endowed five chairs, in physics, philosophy, mathematics, art history, and African and diaspora studies.

Concurrent with the network launch, you’ll be seeing the roll-out of UT’s new promotional TV campaign, filmed on campus earlier this month. These spots are amazing, and I want to thank our longtime agency partners GSD&M for their imagination and hard work.

My thanks, of course, go to Women’s Athletics Director Chris Plonsky for her tireless work and to Men’s Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds, who had the vision for the Longhorn Network and made it a reality.

These events are just the most recent examples of UT changing the game. We’re not afraid to do things differently here, and we’re not afraid to do them first.

Horns up!

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  1. President Powers,

    I cannot agree with your excitement about the LHN. Whoever was in charge of rolling out this network did not plan properly. We the fans were used as the pawns in this power play. I cannot believe that you allowed your fans to be blacked out from watching the game. You should have allowed pay per view instead while working on details with the cable companies. I spend a lot of money at the university to be ignored like this. I hope you offer a better plan for the next game.


  2. Greetings Bill Powers,

    How Embarrassing, The University of Texas Football game will not be seen by most of the State and Longhorn fans because ot he “LHN”.

    We are not some small division two school?
    We are one of the Most Premier Football Programs in the Country.
    Most of the Longhorn Nation WILL NOT be able to see it on TV.
    This is the 21st Century??Right…and I am vanquished to listening to the game on “AM Radio” ? You have got to be KIDDING ?

    Who is to Blame for this? Deloss Dodds? ESPN? LHN? Whoever it is, we are the laughing stock because of this. Aggies are sure laughing, as well as everyone else. All the Hype over the LHN and we can’t even see the first game?

    The creation of the LHN didn’t happen overnight? Although right now, it sure seems that way. Did the LHN not know about the 2011 Schedule? And that the first game against Rice was on September 03, 2011?
    I have spoke to the LHN, ESPN and most major cable / dish carriers. Each blame the other. Mostly they blame ESPN for too high of subscriber cost.
    Does “THE University of Texas” have No Say or Input? Or that the game was sure to be available by September 03?? Even at a cost?

    I hope the money from ESPN is worth it?.. (Its Always about the Money)
    The “Fans” got Screwed.

    Hook ‘Em

    Dub Gillum
    Texas 1985

  3. It is my impression that NO TAX dollars help support the athletic program at UT. The LHN agreement with ESPN is certainly not supported by tax dollars, is it? I do know, or at least hear…the athletic department contributes many millions of dollars to the general university fund…or am I completely mistaken? I, for one, commiserate….re: your 8 colleagues, increased parking fees, tuition, etc., but please don’t rain on this parade. I suspect the blame, if any, lies elsewhere, not at the foot of the LHN or the athletic department and those managing it as efficiently as they do.

    • I would be interested to hear the perspective of the UT scientific community on the impact of the LHN. I would like to hear from someone like Steven Weinberg, who is not afraid to air an independent opinion, about the benefits and drawbacks to the intellectual community at UT from the LHN.

    • Mr. President,

      Here is a concrete suggestion to help dispel some of the pervasive cynicism and mistrust regarding enterprises such as this Longhorn Network:

      Open the books.

      Post online comprehensive public spreadsheets accounting for every dollar in expenses and revenues. Allow us to track where the money comes from and where it goes. All of it. Prove that there is nothing to hide, that yes of course (as always) the football program stands to gain, but that the overall effect will not mean just a few ballyhooed crumbs for other purposes, and that those other purposes do not include creating even more “O” parking slots to stand empty, or fat raises or additional lavish perks for those far beyond worrying about inflation—much less fearing for their jobs.

      Transparency entails substance—not silly so-vague-as-to-be -meaningless Budget 101 cartoons. And not the sort of superficial parody of a spreadsheet torn to shreds for lack of specificity by a professional accountant in attendance at the April 2010 open forum on the Cactus Cafe in the Avaya Auditorium.

      If you’d like to silence a few critics, provide the facts and allow those facts to speak for themselves. If you do, I will be the first to applaud you.

      Until you take that simple forthright step, the prevailing skepticism among the departments and the people who have not been bought off will only continue to fester.

  4. Mr. Hebert,

    Now come on: You just sit tight and be loyal, because the poor little University is about to go bust. Any minute now.

    Aren’t you glad you still have a job? Don’t you fear for your job?

    You’d better. It’s on the wall. Read it.

    Meanwhile, people in the Tower and up there in those luxury boxes know a lot better than you and I ever could. They’re a whole lot smarter than we are and that’s why they make the money that they do, and by golly they are just way too valuable to let go, so we’d better treat them right and make sure they don’t try and get jobs anywhere else. Good *Lord* what would we do if that happened? Why, it’s unthinkable.

    And don’t you fret if the vast majority of television money goes to athletics. Come on, buddy! The Regents have priorities.

    Do your soon-to-be-unemployed colleagues on the classified staff mow down opposing quarterbacks from the blind side or run back kickoffs for touchdowns? Can they pull around end to pancake that free safety or snake in from the two?

    And just ask Rick Perry: Your friends will be much better off real soon, because Texas leads the nation in job creation!

    Happy days are here again!

    Hook ’em!

    • UT Staff and Alumna says:

      How dare you suggest people should be grateful for their jobs?

      Us “lucky” state employees are fighting every day, through the UT Staff Council, the Texas State Employees Union, and CWA, and many other organizations and venues, to bring all workers up to a basic, decent standard of employment.

      The University does important work educating our children, undertaking cutting edge scientific research, powering the state’s economy, and pushing forward literally thousands of other net-positive activities for Texas and the nation. All of this groundbreaking, life-changing work is dependent upon the brilliance of our faculty and student researchers, underpinned by the often unseen and unappreciated work of the thousands of UT staff members who devote all day, every day to making The University run. Everyone from groundskeepers and custodians to the president’s very own executive assistant. We work hard. We care about our jobs. And, despite increasing threats from bottom-line obsessed, philistine, blowhard politicians we believe in the mission of The University.

      Who are you to say these people do not deserve a secure job, and access to health insurance, and a living wage?

      I do, however, deeply appreciate your point about the mercenary “leaders’ driving this race to the bottom, and I wholeheartedly agree that they have little care or concern for our basic welfare. However, I do not attribute this seemingly sociopathic obsession with greed and power to any superior intelligence. Hardly.

      Also, Rick Perry is indeed a clown. He’s possibly the worst thing to happen to this state since Jim Crow. As Molly Ivins so astutely noted, “Next time I tell you someone from Texas shouldn’t be president, please listen.”

      That is all.

      Hook ’em, indeed.

  5. Phillip Hebert says:

    President Powers,

    I’m glad you’re excited about the beginning of the Longhorn Network. I, however, am not. You write that “its an exciting time to be a Longhorn,”, but I submit that this is one of the worst times I’ve experienced being a Longhorn. Next Wednesday is the last day for 8 of my colleagues to be employed by the University, tuition is up, parking rates are up, cost of gas is up, and this is the third year in a row that most of the University community will not be getting raises (and any revenue generated by this new network will most definitely not be used to supply staff with raises)!

    So, I’m glad you chose to spend your time and our tax dollars working on this great deal for a sports program while the rest of your staff is suffering, but I’d prefer to not get an official email from you regarding a new TV station and talking about excitement in the midst of the worst budget situation this University has experienced in my history here since 1997.

    Phillip Hebert