The University of Texas at Austin
  • Sealed with a handshake and a “Hook ‘em”

    By Natalie England,
    Published: Aug. 27, 2011

    History was sealed with a handshake.

    Longhorn Network debuted to the world Friday night (Aug. 26) from an elaborate ESPN College GameDay set on The University of Texas at Austin campus. When the first signals were broadcast, Burke Magnus, ESPN’s senior vice president for college programming, found network vice president Dave Brown huddled around a TV monitor, watching intently.

    Longhorn Network kicked off with a live broadcast Friday, Aug. 26 from the South Mall

    Longhorn Network kicked off with a live broadcast Friday, Aug. 26 from the South Mall on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Photo:

    Magnus offered Brown a hand. “You’re on the air, brother,” Magnus said in congratulations.

    And so it begins. An unprecedented partnership — ESPN has a 20-year agreement with the university to own and operate the network — has spawned an unprecedented venture. Longhorn Network is the first sports network devoted to a single school.

    “This will project UT to the world. This is just the start of it, and it’s exciting,” President William Powers Jr. said. “We have an outlet to show the world that what happens here really does change the world.”

    Longhorn Network (LHN) kicked off with a two-hour special live from the South Mall. The on-air team of lead anchor Lowell Galindo and anchor/reporter Kevin Dunn debuted alongside ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning College GameDay cast, which previewed the upcoming Texas Football season and the Longhorns’ home opener against Rice University on Saturday, Sept. 3.

    “What better way to sort of kick off the college football season than having GameDay here,” GameDay producer Lee Fitting said. “It’s the voice of college football, so it’s a natural for them to come here and help kick off this network.”

    A handful of UT coaches were also featured during the broadcast and were interviewed by Galindo and Dunn.

    “I think it’s unbelievable what ESPN, (men’s athletics director) DeLoss Dodds, Bill Powers and (women’s athletics director) Chris Plonsky did. They changed the scope of college sports,” football coach Mack Brown said. “Obviously, it’s opening eyes for everybody, and once again The University of Texas at Austin is a leader in college sports.”

    The fourth-ranked Texas volleyball team defeated Pepperdine in four sets on Friday night at Gregory Gym, the first UT Athletics event to be televised live on the network. It’s the first of more than 170 live events to be featured on LHN.

    “When you think about it, it could only happen at The University of Texas at Austin,” men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes said. “When you look around at all this, I think you can understand why we all believe ‘We’re Texas.’ I’m not sure right now we realize the full effect. I think it will be bigger than we all imagine.”

    Under Dodds, the Longhorns have become a national brand. For the sixth year, UT ranked as the top-selling institution of the Collegiate Licensing Company’s 180-plus clients, and UT’s gross royalties have increased in 12 of the past 13 years.

    “It was the brand and the fans that drew us to Texas,” Magnus said. “Plus, strategically, we thought it was very important to deepen our relationship with the university, and Texas has some major pull in the landscape of college sports.

    “We have a 20-year partnership. We’re confident about the long-term prospects.”

    The fans came out in full force to be part of the historic launch. A jubilant crowd of burnt orange provided a rowdy backdrop to the debut telecast. Students from all over campus assembled in front of the university’s Tower, ready to show the world what Texas is all about.

    “I came here to support my university,” said neurobiology junior Ashley Willies. “Texas is known for ‘everything is bigger in Texas,’ and we are one of the biggest schools. It is awesome, the fans here are extreme and I think it’s a fantastic idea to finally broadcast that nationally.”

    EXPLORE MORE: On, view a gallery of photos of the Longhorn Network debut.

    This story originally appeared on

    • Quote 2
      dumb nut said on Sept. 26, 2011 at 5:22 p.m.
      yo this the best day of my life ! I've got the longhorn network. GO UT
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      Al Tetzlaff said on Sept. 15, 2011 at 9:24 a.m.
      Seems like the only people that can view the Longhorn Network are those in the broadcast control room. Like others have asked, why wasn't the providers lined up to carry LHN BEFORE the first day of broadcast? Very poor execution guys!
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      Tom Green said on Sept. 8, 2011 at 10:05 a.m.
      I am a lifetime Longhorn Fan and I love all College Sports especially if the Longhorns are involved. I am saddened that The University of Texas did not take the high road and include the rest of the Big 12 in this endeavor. What an opportunity it was to show the world what real sportsmanship is. To send a message to all the importance of loyalty to ones conference and business partners. It appears it is to late to rectify this mess but I hope that UT will find a way to correct this and set an example that we all make mistakes but very few have the courage to correct their own in such a public way. Thousands of Longhorn fans are waiting to see how The University we love will respond to this call for fairness and loyalty!
    • Quote 2
      Will T said on Sept. 7, 2011 at 5:40 p.m.
      I was excited when I first heard about the LHN. Great exposure to all things Longhorn. How could that be a bad deal? Over the coming months I've found out how. 1) Forget worldwide coverage, LHN not even available to most of Texas. 2) Hype of LHN is driving off our longtime "partners" - the rest of the Big 12 (10) (9)??? 3)Aggies are gone and so is one of the oldest rivalries in college football. 4) Viability of the Big 12 (10) (9)is looking worse by the day. 5) LHN restricting Texas' opportunities for admission to other conferences. I'm still betting this will work itself out but it's embarassing how many parts of the launch puzzle were not anticipated or were poorly executed.
    • Quote 2
      Samantha Stiles said on Sept. 7, 2011 at 4:16 p.m.
      We appreciate your loyalty and love for The University of Texas at Austin and UT Athletics. We have faith in ESPN's ability to negotiate clearances for the Longhorn Network with national carriers, but it will take time the same that ESPNU, and other new channels recently (i.e. Big Ten Network, and FSN PLUS channels) took time to clear by their ownership groups. We will post updates about the network to university communication channels as we hear of them. — University Communications, The University of Texas at Austin
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      P. Smith said on Sept. 5, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.
      As a Texas Ex member and Longhorn Foundation contributor living only 30 miles from Austin in Georgetown, I was angry and disappointed that we were unable to watch the Rice game. If there were no Longhorn Network someone would have carried the game. I am embarrassed at the shoddy deal my university has made with ESPN. What a joke it is for a world class university. Please is there any way to cancel the deal with ESPN so the fans can see the games?
    • Quote 2
      Clayton Tangen said on Sept. 5, 2011 at 9:57 a.m.
      I'm so frustrated. We are stuck in Georgia in the middle of SEC land and have no way to watch my Longhorns! How can we push to have the network expanded to cover more areas? So far I have called,and my parents in Va,and have been told that they have no plans of picking up the network:(
    • Quote 2
      Glenn Kubena said on Sept. 4, 2011 at 9:16 p.m.
      How much will this network cost the average person? I have ATT U-Verse and they won't even answer the phone. I can hardly afford to attend any of the games now.
    • Quote 2
      Cjd said on Sept. 3, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.
      WTF?!? A network that nobody can see--genius! At this rate UT fans might have to leave the big 12.
    • Quote 2
      Gordon Browning said on Sept. 3, 2011 at 6:56 p.m.
      Just great.....too bad Longhorns can't watch a UT game. I contacted Dish and they said there had not been enough interest...mmmm...
    • Quote 2
      Janna Taylor said on Sept. 3, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.
      Dear Sir or Madam, How are we to see any of the UT games if LHN ESPN is on "Vios" (sp?), which I am totally unfamiliar with? I think UT should ditch this link with ESPN, despite the dollars it would bring in, and go back to normal broadcasting until a better venture can be arranged, if that is even possible. Thankfully, we do have radio to fall back on. Go 'Horns! Sincerely yours, Janna Taylor Houston, TX Class of 1969
    • Quote 2
      Heather Klotz said on Sept. 2, 2011 at 5:46 p.m.
      After attending the Mack Brown's Women's Clinic and hearing Mack say it (TV Coverage in Central Texas)would be good and we will be pleased with the coverage, I thought everything would be great, the Central Texas fans will be pleased and we will be able to watch the UT-Rice game tomorrow. Now sure where the untruth rests, but at this moment, I am NOT ABLE to watch the game! Who pays the price - the FANS - how unfortunate that UT is sacrificing fan support for an obvious negotiation dispute!
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      Gail Bunce said on Sept. 2, 2011 at 5:23 p.m.
      As a UT alum, as well as a retiree of UT, I would love to see the game and was looking forward to Saturday. Now I find out that because of the new LHN this will be impossible. I agree that these negotiations should have been made a looong time ago. The LHN took a long time to develop and should have had these things negotiated. As this is the only sports I watch, I don't want to have to subscribe to a special sports channel (more money) to get the LHN. News media indicates that the problem is with the networks holding out, what I want to know is, is UT asking for too much. Are you willing to disappoint your alum for the sake of the allmighty dollar. How do you think the lack of watching the games are going to effect alumni giving? If I have to pay more to see the games, I have less to donate.
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      Buddy Boudloche said on Sept. 2, 2011 at 12:06 p.m.
      What a WONDERFUL idea....Texas Longhorn Network! Someone is making money off of this but the BIG losers are myself and the thousands of Texas graduates who bought into the idea and are now extremely frustrated. I live in Austin and Time Warner is NOT carryingl Rice game for us, no volleyball, no NADA. Sounds like there was NO due diligence whatsoever . What the heck were they THINKING of...."We ARE Texas..." and we deserve better treatment than this...Get your act TOGETHER !
    • Quote 2
      Stasia Lamson said on Sept. 2, 2011 at 11:01 a.m.
      I agree. How do we see the Horns if DISH and Comcast don't carry it? Game day tomorrow and no way to see it. Somebody put the cart before the horse here. Networks signed up first then tell us to order ,not call the providers and ask them to get it Longhorn Network .Can't order what they don't have in Houston area. Peggy at DISH doesn't seem to understand Longhorn :(
    • Quote 2
      Texas Ex Life Member said on Sept. 2, 2011 at 9:24 a.m.
      As mentioned before, Athletics is not funded by the state. They are an auxiliary to the University and self funded. This contract is a means for continuing that self funding. Would anyone prefer to raise tickets even higher? In this day and age when so much pressure is put on the program to produce and costs for facilities are so high and considered a necessity to "keep up" with other schools recruiting, the LHN is a smart financial move. However, as others have stated, the contracts with cable providers should have been established well before the launch, but this responsibility is most likely that of ESPN, not the University (although the University has a vested interest in ensuring availability).
    • Quote 2
      Mike said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 11:33 p.m.
      Wow, the students came from "all over campus?" That's some dedication; to walk a whole 1/2 a mile. Maybe they really wanted to be part of the few people who could actually view what was being televised, since there isn't any way for most people to watch the content. The Longhorn Network is really getting all of America to subsidize UT's athletics, whether they want to, or not. If any TV providers pick up this network, guess who will end up paying the extra cost - the normal customer. And if it's added as part of a sports package, then anyone in the US gets the sports package, even if they don't even know who UT is, will be paying money to UT.
    • Quote 2
      M. Riley said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 8:33 p.m.
      OMG! How is this good for ANYONE outside of Texas? This SUCKS! How will I watch my Longhorns play? What is this all about? Are major networks expected to broadcast the games too or are they not allowed? I'm Texan, born and raised, but I live in Maryland. I've got burnt orange all over my house, but no longer on my TV!! BOOO...shame on all of you making money off this.
    • Quote 2
      George Rose said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 7:17 p.m.
      Along with my classmates, I am so disappointed that we are able to have our own network but we cannot utilize it some 60 miles away, much less all over the world. We have alienated Texas A&M along with several other schools. I think our arrogance will hurt us in the end. I would think that with the "geniuses" at ESPN we would have some carriers lined up. I noticed Bill Powers did not even mention it in his newsletter. Shame on the Administration for mishandling this situation and then playing like nothing has happened. I am sure that most graduates are aware that we are considered the "bullies" of the conference. Unfortunately, it may be so. Being an educator is not necessarily living in the "real" world. The Aggies are leaving because they are tired of being pushed around. I do not blame them.
    • Quote 2
      N. Snyder said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 6:49 p.m.
      Wile the Longhorn Network was a great concept, its implementation has been poorly executed. None of the major cable/satellite providers have agreed to broadcast LHN. That issue should have been resolved before all the hoopla that accompanied the anticipated inaugural telecast. How do you project UT to the world, when no one in the world can watch LHN. While it may be great that the University will receive considerable revenues from LHN, most fans are very disappointed because we can't watch it.
    • Quote 2
      H. J. Hazelton said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.
      I am a life member of the Longhorn Foundation and am very surprised and disappointed that distribution arrangements were not made prior to the LHN's launch. I live in the Austin area with Suddenlink as my provider, and can't get the LHN. You'd think that Central Texas would have been one of the first places that receive the network. I'm very disappointed.
    • Quote 2
      Rita said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 4:50 p.m.
      So far since no major networks are carrying the Longhorn Network, we are not going to be able to watch the Rice game locally. Normally, someone would pick the game up and show it in the Austin area. FSN, espn, .......or an alternate channel. So as far as I can tell, we have less coverage than we had before the LHN......Disappointed so far !
    • Quote 2
      D. Dodd said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 3:14 p.m.
      We live in Lubbock. It is a tough place to be a Longhorn. So we buy season tickets for the Austin football games & we support UT enthusiastically to everyone we know. We were thrilled about The Longhorn Network not only for ourselves but for what it can do for the university. It is extremely frustrating to be in Texas and not be able to get access. We have AT&T Uverse but we would switch if we could get the Longhorn Network. Please work this out.
    • Quote 2
      Gina said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 1:48 p.m.
      I live 25 miles east of Austin and NONE of the cable probiders are carrying the Longhorn Network -- how many games do we have as fans have to miss? I know several people who will pay for the LSN but if the providers aren't buying in, how do we get it? Who can help?
    • Quote 2
      Pascual "Don" Marquez said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 12:58 p.m.
      What were they thinking?? Not all UT graduates stay in Austin, some move to their home state after graduation. Some of us retires also move for various reasons, but remain UT fans. I can't watch the Horns, because Comcast does not carry the network. There are alot of UT Fans in the Midwest and around the South Bend area that are forced to watch Notre Dame or Michigan, because again, someone was not thinking before they signed up with ESPN. I guess they can't fix stupid. There, I've said it!!! A UT retiree 2000.
    • Quote 2
      Carr Guess said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.
      NO ONE in the Fort Worth area or for that matter, in most of the DFW Area will get to see this marveDlossDodd of a creation either ... we'll all have to watch on a PC ... Verizon FIOS doesn't cover our area. DirecTV just isn't even thinking about signing up ... as of today, Sep 1, 2011.
    • Quote 2
      L. J. Park said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.
      I am really concerned that the LSN will control the telecasts of football games to the extent that they will not be available to us Longhorn faithful out here on the west coast. I'm tired of being inundated with USC and UCLA sports and want to watch the 'Horns! I am paying Direct TV a premium to be able to watch as many UT games as I can. I do hope that I'll be able to watch my favorite sports team this season and for seasons to come!
    • Quote 2
      Bret 1984 Grad said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 9:37 a.m.
      LHN is a great concept, but only a concept without an actual network for delivery. There are too many areas in which the service is not available, including California (where I live), the state with the largest population. If a distribution deal is achieved mid-season (football), consumers should not be expected to pay full fare.
    • Quote 2
      Jim said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 9:21 a.m.
      Will, the athletic department is not state funded. Last year the athletic program donated 5M back to the university.
    • Quote 2
      Ronda said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 9:10 a.m.
      "This will project UT to the world." -- However, we can't even get it here in good ol' Austin, Texas.
    • Quote 2
      Robert Hahn ('59) said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 8:59 a.m.
      How much will it cost to see the two UT football games on the Longhorn Network? Who will be the provider? Time Warner? Bob
    • Quote 2
      Longhorn alum said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 8:43 a.m.
      But the one question not answered is whether the Longhorn Network is free if you already have upgraded cable and ESPN or offered by Time Warner as part of a football package or if you have to buy it separately. So how do we diehard fans watch our team during this penny pinching recession?
    • Quote 2
      David Smith said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 8:19 a.m.
      Way to go Horns! The UT Austin @ Texas Newsletter - 01 September 2011 states in its "Top Story of the Week" that the new LHN will "and give fans a taste of the University’s academic, arts and cultural offerings." Let's hope we do indeed see some of the world renown Fine Arts offerings at UT as well.
    • Quote 2
      Robert Sewell said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 8:18 a.m.
      I'm proud to have the opportunity to view the LHN! I expected to have a contract done w/ my provider, Directv by now, 1st of Sept. In the absence, it has become a bad joke and made the lack of coverage an uncertainty and aggies leave giving the conference questions for mere existance. Show me LBJ grad school lectures, Prof Grubsey's eco class, or debates about University transparency, etc. I am now impatient! Let Disney handle the damn negoiatioins! I Show some leadership and much less of an arrogance as some say! To quote a great Texan, It's time!
    • Quote 2
      James P Harle M.D. said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 8:14 a.m.
      I am happy that the DEloss Dodd et al have made themselves in the campus a pile of money. They don't seem to care one hoot about 96,000 University of Texas exes. This coming Saturday I will miss Texas football first game in many many years. All of this for a few bucks for the hierarchy. The Aggies are the first to leave, I wouldn't be surprised if others do also. Kansas State has already created their own network. I'm the world without either of these schools be able to watch their game when it comes up? All of this reminds me greatly on how the White House is now being run: No real thought of the future. James B Harle M.D.(class of 49, University of Texas Galveston) 7676 High Dr Prairie Village,KS 66208 913-648-4785
    • Quote 2
      Allison said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 8:10 a.m.
      Help me get Longhorn Network in Atlanta! I miss Texas :)
    • Quote 2
      john trucilla said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 7:42 a.m.
      I am so proud to say that my son is a sophomore at UT-Austin and a member of the men's track and field team. I should also add that upon graduating from Boston College, my niece, is now a communications grad student and TA at UT. The innovation and implementation of the LN only further reenforces the fact that UT is the leader in college academics and athletics and what happens there really does change the world!!! Hook 'em
    • Quote 2
      Mary ann johnson said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 7:41 a.m.
      It's just too bad that most Longhorn fans are not able to get LHN, so we'll never know if it's such a good deal with ESPN! Am thinking deals should have been made with Dish, Direct, Suddenlink, etc. BEFORE the network was launched---each time we've contacted our network, they have said they don't have plans to carry the LHN, so how is this such a good deal for Longhorn fans?!!!
    • Quote 2
      TERESA C. KYPUROS said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 5:30 a.m.
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      Austin said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 4:49 a.m.
      I'm in complete agreement with Will. Every year I see more and more new building popping up on campus, and more funding going to the coaching staff and sports, yet less and less courses offered in each subject, with more forced retirements scheduled. It is sad to know that we are unable to continue receiving the same educational choices that were available only a couple of years ago because there is supposedly no funding. As for the network, since it is unable on any provider other than Verios FIOS, are there plans to make it available in any capacity such as streaming online for students and staff to still support the school, or are we expected to put forth even more money for access to some corporate partnership that the University has established?
    • Quote 2
      H.D. Nightingale said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 4:36 a.m.
      The Longhorn Network is an exciting concept, but I don't see that it will project UT to the world when it is only available in the United States. I would love to get TLN in Canada but find that it is unavailable.
    • Quote 2
      Stephen Jackel said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 2:40 a.m.
      I live in Iowa now, how can I get Longhorn Network through "Dish"? I've been a fan my whole life.
    • Quote 2
      Paul said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 1:11 a.m.
      Arkansas, SMU, Rice, Houston, Nebraska, Colorado, & Texas A&M used to be our business partners, and now are gone for some reason or the other.
    • Quote 2
      bill said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 1:06 a.m.
      This might be great for mainland folks, but in Hawaii we only get coverage from ESPN and the national networks. Bottom line for us is no way to see UT sports. Bummer!
    • Quote 2
      Sherry said on Sept. 1, 2011 at 12:27 a.m.
      Just who will be able to watch this network? Certainly no one subscribng to U-Verse, Comcast, Direct TV,etc - at least not in the Houston area!
    • Quote 2
      Will said on Aug. 30, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.
      It's a great and significant move which will bring in millions of dollars and great publicity. I hope UT will use a small portion of the largesse to support the day-to-day functions of The University (i.e., Staff & Faculty salaries). You can't continue to cut back and go forward. Sports at UT are important, but without an educational objective, there would be no sports. Or, maybe there would: we could close the University and just have football! I'm sure that would satisfy a lot of people! Maybe parents wouldn't want to send their children to Austin just to support a football team, however.
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