Earlier today we examined the lay of the land in the cable & satellite arena where networks and leagues are battling out with media conglomerates with your sports viewing options and a few dollars at stake. If you missed Part 1, make sure to read it here for what's currently happening in the distribution world, how it effects you, and what's happening in the distressing battles between BTN & Dish Network and NFL Network & Time Warner Cable. Part 2 examines regional networks like Longhorn Network and the Pac 12 Networks that have their fates in the hands of securing carriage.
The Situation: Texas starts the season ranked this year so they are hoping fans will be more up in arms that nobody has the channel compared to last year. Texas' first two games versus Wyoming and New Mexico are on the channel and then after that, some lower quality basketball games are all that's left.
ESPN, who owns the channel, has made revenue guarantees to Texas, but is losing money big time right now on the venture. Texas is taking heat from all sides because nobody gets the channel. Last night, AT&T U-verse finally jumped on board, giving LHN a glimmer of hope and moving it past an audience equal to voters for Craig James. There are rumors of possible deals with Dish and DTV, but nothing confirmed. TWC has the most subscribers in Texas and isn't even at the negotiating table on this one either. A third game is likely to be added to the channel to extend the negotiating window and give leverage to LHN.
What They Are Saying: From The Austin Statesman:
"Dodds also said he thinks ESPN, which owns the LHN and controls distribution rights over a 20-year agreement with Texas, will eventually land a distributor.
"I think they'll get it done," Dodds said."... Obviously not getting it done (before the first two games of the season) is going to impact some people, but it's a 20-year deal. It will be worth it, what we're going through. We're going to win in the end."
Best guess at what the deal is: ESPN is fronting $300 million over 20 years to Texas and right now it looks bleak. In fact, if things don't improve quickly, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think ESPN would look at utilizing possible out-clauses in the agreement to dissolve the relationship at some point in 2013 or 2014.no comments