The Longhorn Network has been a failed experiment for ESPN. Carriage for the channel is still extremely limited. Yet, that's not stopping ESPN from continuing to throw games onto the network in an attempt to get people to watch. It hasn't really worked yet, but don't fault ESPN for not trying.
Longhorn Network is now driving another fanbase up the wall: basketball fans. It's looking more and more like six Big 12 hoops games will be airing on Longhorn Network this year - including Oklahoma's Big 12 opener with Texas according to The Oklahoman. Tough luck, Sooners fans! Your team might have made the NCAA Tournament last year, but you're not going to be able to watch your conference opener against one of your hated rivals. And if you do, it's going to be on their network.
You have to feel for West Virginia fans too, because they're also getting screwed with their game with the Longhorns airing on the Longhorn Network. I don't need to tell you that Morgantown is way, way out of the Longhorn Network's footprint. It's also a bit telling that the affected games, with the exception of the tilt with the Sooners, exclusively feature the Big 12's worst teams from this past season - West Virginia, Texas Tech, and TCU.
This situation is really only an issue because the Longhorn Network exists. You're not seeing lower level SEC, Big 10, and Pac-12 schools get screwed over like this because of the conference and regional network system. Could you imagine if a Gator Network existed, and Georgia fans couldn't watch one of the games with Florida because they didn't get it?
It shows just how much power ESPN wields in the sports world. With their Big 12 TV rights they get to decide who plays when on what network. ESPN gets to do all they can to help the University of Texas and their struggling channel at the expense of other schools and their fanbases. LHN has succeeded in a couple areas - creating headaches and unlevel playing fields. Add Big 12 basketball fans to the list of people irritated by the existence of LHN.
The Big XII sold their soul to ESPN for the Longhorn network. Let's see what it cost them. (Feel free to add on anything I missed)
The Denver, St. Louis and (half) KC TV markets in exchange for Charleston, WV. (they did hold onto Des Moines, Topeka, Wichita, Tulsa and OKC.)
Two of the most storied football programs in the country with 90.000 seat stadiums in Neb and A&M.
An annual game (Neb-Colo) which was given to a national audience in an exclusive time-slot on network TV on a holiday weekend since BEFORE the conference was established.
Two 100 year old rivalries that have encompassed some of the best games in the short history of their conference. (Longhorn-Aggie football and Mizzou-Kansas basketball).
Losing four major state universities with enormous alumni bases in exchange for another (small populous) state school and a private school that you didn't want 20 years ago.
A Football Championship game.
And don't forget your current conference football champion who lost to the FCS champion earlier this year.
Hey, without the Longhorn Network there wouldn't be a Big 12 network, there wouldn't be a Big 12 at all. Remember the Pac-16?
The conference needs to be changed to the Oklahoma-Texas conference. The Big 12 is so confusing as a conference. If Oklahoma has a wild hair and decided to change conferences, or even Texas, no team in the Big 12 could keep the conference together. But with that said, Texas has the audacity to wine about this situation, but that's alright, they went and spent money to get their own network, which basically helped rid 4 teams who wanted out the conference, and yes, almost Oklahoma! That's not great respect for your rival teams, you are supposed to hate them on the field or the courts, not hate them through business "togetherness"! If this network completely fails, it's no one's fault but Texas. Should have thought about that before you decided to do your own thing, instead of hurting your own field of teams!
The Longhorn Network and the new Sooner Network will eventually lead to the destruction of the BIG XII Conference!